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VACStent: Combining the benefits of endoscopic vacuum therapy and covered stents for upper gastrointestinal tract leakage
Background and study aims Endoscopic treatment has markedly improved the high morbidity and mortality in patients with upper gastrointestinal tract leakage. Most procedures employ either covered self-expanding metal stents (SEMS) or endoscopic vacuum therapy (EVT), both with good clinical success but also with concomitant significant shortcomings inherent in each technique. A newly developed device, the VACStent, combines the fully covered SEMS with a polyurethane sponge cylinder anchored on the outside. This allows endoluminal EVT while keeping the intestinal lumen patent. The benefit is prevention of stent migration because the suction force of the sponge-cylinder immobilizes the VACStent on the intestinal wall, while at the same time, the attached external vacuum pump suctions off any secretions and improves healing with negative-pressure wound treatment (NPWT).
Patients and methods In this pilot study, the first patients to receive the VACStent were assessed. Outcomes included the applicability and stability of the VACStent system together with the clinical course.
Results Three patients with different clinical courses were managed with the VACStent. The first patient suffered anastomotic leakage following subtotal esophagectomy and was successfully treated with two postoperative VACStents for 12 days. The second patient received a covered SEMS for 14 days for acute Boerhaave syndrome. Due to persistent leakage, management was converted to EVT. Seven days, later a VACStent was inserted to allow oral nutrition while the leak finally closed. In the third patient, a LINX Reflux Management System had to be removed for erosion, leaving the gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) with a full-thickness gap. After VACstent insertion, successful closure was achieved within 4 days.
Conclusions These clinical cases demonstrate the applicability and efficacy of the VACstent in management of esophageal and anastomotic leakage. With its vacuum sponge, the stent fosters wound healing while the covered SEMS keeps the passage patent for nutrition.
Received: 19 November 2020
Accepted: 22 February 2021
Article published online:
27 May 2021
© 2021. The Author(s). This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)
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