Stenosis of the vena cava: preliminary assessment of treatment with expandable metallic stents.

Abstract

To test the ability of Gianturco expandable metallic stents to dilate and maintain patency in stenotic venae cavae, stenosis of the inferior vena cava was created in seven mongrel dogs by the percutaneous injection of absolute ethanol into the paravascular retroperitoneal space. Gianturco stents, placed across the stenotic segment, resulted in successful dilatation with improved hemodynamics in four dogs. The stents failed to dilate an occluded vena cava in one dog; in the remaining dogs, stent placement was complicated by early migration and occlusion. Gianturco stents were placed in two patients, one with superior vena cava syndrome and one with retroperitoneal fibrosis that obstructed the inferior vena cava, and resulted in immediate relief of presenting symptoms. These results should be viewed cautiously, but further investigation into the clinical use of the stents is indicated, especially for patients for whom other treatments are difficult.

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