BACKGROUND & AIMS: Benign anastomotic strictures are often difficult to treat. We assessed the efficacy of adding corticosteroid injections to endoscopic dilation therapy with Savary bougienage.
METHODS: In a multicenter, double-blind trial, 60 patients (mean age, 63 +/- 9 years; 78% male) with an untreated cervical anastomotic stricture after esophagectomy with gastric tube reconstruction and dysphagia for at least solid food were randomly assigned to groups given 4 quadrant injections of 0.5 mL triamcinolone (40 mg/mL, n = 29) or saline (controls, n = 31) into the stricture, followed by Savary dilation to 16 mm. Dysphagia, complications, and quality of life were assessed after 1 and 2 weeks and 1, 3, and 6 months. The primary end point was a dysphagia-free period of 6 months.
RESULTS: In the corticosteroid group, 45% of the patients remained dysphagia-free for 6 months, compared with 36% of controls (relative risk, 1.26; 95% confidence interval, 0.68-2.36; P = .46). Median time to repeat dilation was 108 days (range, 15-180 days) in the corticosteroid group vs 42 days (range, 17-180 days) for controls (P = .11). A median number of 2 dilations (range, 1-7) was performed in the corticosteroid group vs 3 dilations (range, 1-9) in controls (relative risk, 0.76; 95% confidence interval, 0.42-1.38; P = .36). Two major intervention-related complications occurred, 1 submucosal laceration in the corticosteroid group and 1 hemorrhage in the control group. Four patients in the corticosteroid group, but none of the controls, developed Candida esophagitis (P = .03).
CONCLUSIONS: Corticosteroid injections do not provide a statistically significant decrease in frequency of repeat dilations or prolongation of the dysphagia-free period in patients with benign anastomotic esophagogastric strictures.