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Palliation of malignant dysphagia by ethanol induced tumour necrosis.
  1. C U Nwokolo,
  2. J J Payne-James,
  3. D B Silk,
  4. J J Misiewicz,
  5. D E Loft
  1. Department of Gastroenterology, Walsgrave Hospital, Coventry.

    Abstract

    Thirty two patients (74 (43-93) years; median, (range)) with dysphagia because of inoperable, unresectable or recurrent oesophagogastric carcinoma were treated by ethanol induced tumour necrosis (ETN). Endoscopic injection of absolute alcohol was performed using a variceal injector needle, with 0.5-1 ml aliquots injected retrogradely from distal to proximal tumour margin. Dilatation to 12 mm was used only if the endoscope would not traverse the stricture. In patients with total occlusion, injection into the proximal tumour was followed by a repeat endoscopy 3-7 days later. Dysphagia was graded from 0 = no dysphagia to 4 = total dysphagia. The significance of changes in the dysphagia grade after ETN were assessed using the Wilcoxon rank sum test. Results (median (range)) were as follows: stricture length = 5.0 cm (1-15). Dysphagia grade before treatment was 3 (2-4) improving after first treatment to 1 (0-3), p < 0.003. Best dysphagia grade achieved was 1 (0-3) and interval between treatments was 28.5 days (4-170). The volume of ethanol injected = 10 ml (1.5-29) and survival after first treatment was 93 days (6-660). The number of treatment sessions required to achieve best grade = 1 (1-3). There were no treatment complications. ETN significantly improves dysphagia. Results of palliation are similar to those of laser therapy, but can be achieved quickly and safely on a day case basis in most patients and at a small proportion of the cost.

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