Endoscopic deployment of self-expanding metal stents offers an alternative to surgical intervention in rectocolonic obstructions. Reported clinical failures in the literature are all related to the site of stent placement. We report a case of serious intra-abdominal disease after technically and clinically successful stent deployment: a potentially dangerous situation of which the surgeon should be aware. A previously healthy 72-year-old female was referred to our department with symptoms of an obstructing colorectal tumor. Successful stent placement resulted in resolution of the obstructive condition. Three days after stent deployment, x-ray examinations revealed a small-bowel obstruction and emergency surgery was performed. Intraoperative findings demonstrated a segment of ileum fixated to the tumor in the small pelvis, resulting in the obstructive condition. Furthermore, a cecal perforation, probably caused by ischemic conditions developed before stent-decompression of the colon was revealed during the operation. The patient died in the postoperative course. We discuss the observation of patients treated with self-expanding metal stents based on the selection-strategy used to allocate patients to this specific treatment. We conclude that although a patient is eligible for treatment with self-expanding metal stents, large-bowel obstruction can be too "old" for stent-decompression, causing ischemic perforation of the colon. Furthermore, we underline the need to focus on the possibility of obstructions other than those being treated.
Diseases of the Colon and Rectum, 2004, Vol 47, Issue 11, p. 1970-3