Purpose: To identify whether long-term symptom relief and stent patency vary with the use of covered versus uncovered stents for the treatment of benign SVC obstruction. Methods and Materials: We retrospectively identified all patients with benign SVC syndrome treated to stent placement between January 2003 and December 2015 (n = 59). Only cases with both clinical and imaging follow-up were included (n = 47). In 33 (70%) of the patients, the obstruction was due to a central line or pacemaker wires, and in 14 (30%), the cause was fibrosing mediastinitis. Covered stents were placed in 17 (36%) of the patients, and 30 (64%) patients had an uncovered stent. Clinical and treatment outcomes, complications, and the percent stenosis of each stent were evaluated. Results: Technical success was achieved in all cases at first attempt. Average clinical and imaging follow-up in years was 2.7 (range 0.1–11.1) (covered) and 1.7 (range 0.2–10.5) (uncovered), respectively. There was a significant difference (p = 0.044) in the number of patients who reported a return of symptoms between the covered (5/17 or 29.4%) and uncovered (18/30 or 60%) groups. There was also a significant difference (p = < 0.001) in the mean percent stenosis after stent placement between the covered [17.9% (range 0–100) ± 26.2] and uncovered [48.3% (range 6.8–100) ± 33.5] groups. No significant difference (p = 0.227) was found in the time (days) between the date of the procedure and the date of clinical follow-up where a return of symptoms was reported [covered: 426.6 (range 28–1554) ± 633.9 and uncovered 778.1 (range 23–3851) ± 1066.8]. One patient in the uncovered group had non-endovascular surgical intervention (innominate to right atrial bypass), while none in the covered group required surgical intervention. One major complication (SIR grade C) occurred that consisted of a pericardial hemorrhagic effusion after angioplasty that required covered stent placement. There were no procedure-related deaths. Conclusion: Both covered and uncovered stents can be used for treating benign SVC syndrome. Covered stents, however, may be a more effective option at providing symptom relief and maintaining stent patency if validated by further studies.
- SVC syndrome