Colonic stenting has no decisive advantages to Emergency surgery.

Emergency surgical decompression has been the traditional treatment of choice for the malignant colorectal tumours presenting as an acute obstruction. This is associated with higher morbidity and mortality due to the emergency nature of the procedure along with other existing co morbidities. This systematic review of five randomised trial shows higher rates of clinical relief of obstruction in emergency surgery. Colonic stent has not been shown to be as effective as emergency surgery in malignant colorectal obstructions. However, use of colonic stent is associated with comparable mortality and morbidity with advantage of shorter hospital stay and procedure time and less blood loss. Further randomised controlled trials with larger sample size and robust trial design are required on this topic.

Authors' conclusions: 

The use of colonic stent in malignant colorectal obstruction seems to have no advantage over emergency surgery. The clinical success rate was statistically higher in emergency surgery group. However, use of colorectal stents seems to be as safe in the malignant colorectal obstruction as the emergency surgery with no statistically significant difference in the mortality and morbidity. Colorectal stents are associated with acceptable stent perforation, migration and obstruction rates. The advantages of colorectal stent includes shorter hospital stay and procedure time and less blood loss. However, due to the variability in the sample size and trial designs in the included studies, further randomised trials with bigger sample size and well defined trial design are needed to achieve the robust evidence.

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Background: 

Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancer in the western world. Acute colonic obstruction is one of the common presentations of colon cancer. Emergency surgical decompression is the traditional treatment of choice but is associated with high morbidity and mortality. In recent years colonic stents have been used to relieve the obstruction.

Objectives: 

The aim was to compare the colonic stenting versus emergency surgical decompression with regards to benefits and risks.

Search strategy: 

Searches were carried out May 2010 in the Cochrane Colorectal Cancer Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid EMBASE and Ovid CINAHL.

Selection criteria: 

Randomised clinical trials comparing colonic stenting versus surgical decompression for obstructing colorectal cancers were considered for inclusion.

Data collection and analysis: 

Data on the characteristics of the trial, methodological quality of the trials, mortality, morbidity, technical and clinical success rate, operating time, hospital stay and other measured secondary outcomes from each trial were collected. And the data were analysed with both the fixed-effect and the random-effects models using RevMan Analysis. For each outcome, odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) based on available data analysis was calculated.

Main results: 

Five randomised trials were identified with a total of 207 participants, 102 to colorectal stenting and 105 to emergency surgery. There was statistically significant higher clinical success rate in the emergency surgery group. The average time of clinical relief of obstruction was 0.66 day in the colonic stent group and was 3.55 days in the emergency surgery group. The stent insertion was successful in 86.02% of attempted stent placements. There was no statistically significant difference in the 30-day mortality between two groups. The 30 day mortality rate was similar, 2.3% in both groups. The stent related perforation rate was 5.88%. The stent migration rate was 2.13%. The stent obstruction rate was 2.13%. There was no statistically significant difference in overall complication rate in both groups. The complication rate was 39.22% in the colonic stent group and was 45.71% in the emergency surgery group. The mean hospital stay was 11.53 days in the colonic stent group and was 17.15 days in the emergency surgery group. The mean procedure/operating time was 113.93 minutes in the colonic stent group compared to 143.85 minutes in the emergency surgery group. The median blood loss was 50 ml in the colonic stent group and 350 ml in the emergency surgery group.

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