Preoperative biliary drainage by plastic or self-expandable metal stents in patients with periampullary tumors: results of a randomized clinical study
submitted 15 December 2016
accepted after revision 15 March 2017
05 September 2017 (online)
Background and study aims Preoperative biliary drainage in patients with periampullary tumors and jaundice has been popularized to improve the quality of life and minimize the risks associated with subsequent radical surgery. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible superiority of self-expandable metal stents (SEMS) over plastic stents, by comparing the amount of bacteria in intraoperatively collected bile and using this variable as a proxy for the efficacy of the respective biliary drainage modalities.
Patients and methods In this randomized clinical trial, 92 patients with obstructive jaundice were enrolled; 45 were allocated to the plastic stent group and 47 to the SEMS group. The primary outcome was the extent and magnitude of biliary bacterial growth at the time of surgical exploration. Secondary outcomes were: macroscopic grading of inflammation of the stented bile ducts, occurrence of adverse events after stenting, stent dysfunction, recognized surgical complexities, and incidence of postoperative complications.
Results The patients were well matched regarding clinical and disease-specific characteristics. At surgery, there were no group differences in the bacterial amount and composition of the bile cultures or the perceived difficulty of surgical dissection. During the preoperative biliary drainage period, more instances of stent dysfunction requiring stent replacement were recorded in the plastic stent group (19 % vs. 0 %; P = 0.03). Postoperative complications in patients who underwent curative surgery were more common in patients with plastic stents (72 % vs. 52 %), among which clinically significant leakage from the pancreatic anastomoses seemed to predominate (12 % vs. 3.7 %); however, none of these differences in postoperative adverse events reached statistical significance.
Conclusion This randomized clinical study was unable to demonstrate any superiority of SEMS in the efficacy of preoperative bile drainage, as assessed by the amount of bacteria in the intraoperatively collected bile. However, some data in favor of SEMS were observed among the clinical secondary outcomes variables (preoperative stent exchange rates) without increases in local inflammatory reactions.
Trial registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT00501176).