Feasibility, Tolerability, and Effectiveness of Transbronchial Interventions in Elderly Patients With Malignant Central Airway Obstruction: A Retrospective Single-institution Study

January, 01, 2024 | Select Oncology Journal Articles


In elderly patients with malignant central airway obstruction (MCAO), the treating physicians often hesitate to undertake transbronchial interventions (TBIs) as a palliative procedure in view of the advanced age of the patients.


We conducted this retrospective study to evaluate the differences in the feasibility, tolerability, and effectiveness of TBIs between elderly (aged 75 years old or above; elderly group; n=27) and nonelderly (aged below 75 years old; nonelderly group; n=50) patients with MCAO. The primary endpoint was the incidence of complications during (within 24 hours) and after (>24 hours) TBIs.


The mean age of the patients was 81 years in the elderly group and 61 years in the nonelderly group. The complications encountered during/after TBI included endobronchial bleeding or hypoxemia requiring intubation occurring during the TBIs, and bacterial pneumonia, airway reocclusion, and stent migration occurring after the TBIs, although there was no difference in the frequency of complications during/after the TBIs between the elderly group and nonelderly group (26% vs. 30%, P=0.706). There was no difference in the percentage of patients in whom successful airway recanalization was achieved by TBI (93% vs. 80%, P=0.197), the percentage of patients who showed symptomatic improvement after the TBIs (67% vs. 76%, P=0.380) and the OS after the TBIs (6.1 vs. 7.3 months, P=0.704) between the 2 groups.


TBIs can be undertaken without hesitation as a palliative procedure in elderly patients with MCAO.

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