The pancreaticojejunal anastomotic stent: Friend or foe?
Background The efficacy of pancreaticojejunal (P-J) anastomotic stents in preventing clinically relevant postoperative pancreatic fistulas (CR-POPF) after pancreatic resection is poorly understood. We sought to compare the outcomes of stented and nonstented patients in light of recognized risk-factors for the development of CR-POPF and to determine whether outcomes differed once there was a change in practice where use of stents was abandoned. Methods A total of 444 patients underwent proximal pancreatic resection with P-J reconstruction from 2001 to 2011. At the surgeon's discretion, a PJ stent (5- or 8-Fr Silastic tube) was placed in 59 patients (13.3%; 46 internal, 13 external). Demographics, comorbidities, and adjusted outcomes were evaluated between groups of nonstented (n = 385) and stented patients; these outcomes included a subgroup analysis of internally and externally stented patients. Risk factors for CR-POPF (International Study Group on Pancreatic Fistula grade B/C) development have been previously defined as soft gland, small duct size, high-risk pathology, or excessive blood loss (>1,000 mL). Outcomes were interpreted in reference to the risk factor profile (the number of absolute risk factors present; 0–4), and to the fistula risk score, a prospectively validated score which accurately predicts the risk and impact of pancreatic fistula based on these variables. Results Preoperative demographics of age, sex, body mass index, American Society of Anesthesiologists class, and physiologic and operative severity score for the enumeration of mortality and morbidity (ie, POSSUM) score were equivalent between cohorts. The CR-POPF risk-factor profile and fistula risk score were greater in stented patients (P Conclusion The use of P-J stents does not decrease the incidence or severity of CR-POPF after proximal pancreatic resection, both overall and for high-risk scenarios. In some patients, P-J stents may lead to short- and long-term adverse outcomes.