Comparison of Covered Versus Uncovered Stents for Benign Superior Vena Cava (SVC) Obstruction

Mustafa M. Haddad, Benjamin Simmons, Ian R. McPhail, Manju Kalra, Melissa J. Neisen, Matthew P. Johnson, Andrew H. Stockland, James C. Andrews, Sanjay Misra, Haraldur Bjarnason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-717
Number of pages6
JournalCardioVascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Benign
  • SVC syndrome
  • Stent


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