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A district general hospital experience of palliative biliary stenting
  1. S E Thomas1,
  2. M J Lee2,
  3. N Sivaramakrishnan3 and
  4. K Lambert4
  1. 1Department of Palliative Medicine, St Gemma's Hospice, Leeds, UK
  2. 2Scunthorpe General Hospital, UK
  3. 3Department of Gastroenterology, Dewsbury and District Hospital, Dewsbury, UK
  4. 4Department of Palliative Medicine, Dewsbury and District Hospital, Dewsbury, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sophie E Thomas, Department of Palliative Medicine, St Gemma's Hospice, Leeds, LS17 6QD, UK; Sophiethomas1{at}


Background Palliative management of malignant pancreaticobiliary (PB) disease typically takes the form of endoscopic biliary stenting with a covered metal stent. We set out to assess outcomes from endoscopic biliary stenting (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, ERCP) for malignant disease in our district general hospital (DGH).

Methods We identified patients with malignant PB disease who underwent primary ERCP between 2011 and 2012. Case notes were reviewed for clinical outcomes and involvement of palliative care.

Results 38 patients underwent biliary stenting in this period. Median age was 75.6 years (53.6–99.8 years). 35 stents were placed for primary PB malignancy. 31 of these stents were covered metal stents and 6 were uncovered. Bilirubin decreased from a median of 218 to 112 µmol/L (median decrease 55 µmol/L). Complications occurred in the following 13 cases: 7 blocked stents (18.9%), 2 of which were associated with sepsis; 2 cases of stent migration (8.1%); 3 cases of biliary sepsis (8.1%) and 1 episode of pancreatitis (2.7%). Subsequently, 12 patients underwent a single repeat ERCP and 1 patient underwent 3 further ERCPs. Median survival following ERCP and stent was 78 days (10–806). 28 patients (76%) were known to the hospital palliative care team.

Conclusions Our DGH provides local service with complication rates comparable to those described in the literature. This allows care of patients with limited prognosis to be treated close to home. The majority of stent complications and mortality occur within 3 months. Input from the palliative care team is useful when considering whether a patient has a prognosis long enough to benefit from the procedure.

  • Cancer
  • Quality of life

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