Balloon Dilation of Malignant Strictures to Permit Complete Endoscopic Ultrasound Staging in Esophageal Cancer
Despite improvement in treatment-related morbidity and mortality, esophageal cancer is still
one of the most lethal malignancies. Accurate staging is essential to establish prognosis
and for patient management. Staging helps to determine if surgery, chemotherapy, radiation
therapy, a combination of these, or a palliative approach is the most appropriate.
Endoscopic ultrasound techniques are becoming more and more popular. At Notre Dame Hospital,
Centre Hospitalier de L'Universite de Montreal, all patients diagnosed with esophageal
cancer undergo complete EUS staging. In selected patients, EUS is followed by EBUS during
the same procedure, in order to examine all the lymph nodes near or far from the primary
tumour amenable to EBUS guided trans-bronchial biopsy. In patients with a malignant
esophageal stricture, we have preformed very gentle balloon dilation up to 14 mm. It is
important to realize that this is not to achieve symptom resolution, but rather to allow the
passage of the scope. We hypothesize that earlier reports of higher perforation rates were
related to unnecessary aggressive dilation. Thus far, we have successfully dilated over 60
patients during the last four years (2009-2013) and were able to pass the scope and complete
the examination in the vast majority of patients with no morbidity.
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