Stents

We have just put up our first poll for Charlie's Circle because we wondered about how many people have trouble with stents.

Stents are made of a thin wire mesh material and are designed to maintain a clear passage for food to pass through your oesophagus, usually to combat swelling that constricts it. The diameter is usually between 9 and 12mm so that determines the size of food portions that will pass through. If they get blocked up, it sometimes needs an endoscopy to unblock them, and we find that there may not be a lot of detailed knowledge about the practicalities in all parts of the medical profession.

Here is some guidance from the OPA booklet 'Swallowing - Nutrition when it's Difficult'

opa.org.uk/downloads.html

Don't rush eating

Have soft food in small mouthfuls and chew it well

Drink a little before and after meals - fizzy drinks are helpful

Sit up straight when eating

Don't tackle large lumps of food - cut them up and chew them well

Spit out anything that you cannot chew

Mix food supplements such as Complan very thoroughly - dry powder can block the stent

If you feel the stent is blocked, stop eating. Drink a little and walk around for a while

If the blockage persists for more than three hours, ring your GP or contact the hospital where you were treated.

Clean the stent after eating with a fizzy drink

Keep your teeth and dentures in good order so that you can chew well

Foods to avoid:

Green salads and raw vegetables

Fried egg white, and hard-boiled egg

Fruit skins and pith of grapefruit and orange

Tough meat and gristle

Fish with bones

White bread, crusty bread and toast

Shredded Wheat and Puffed Wheat

Hard chips and crisps

Nuts and dried fruit

2 Replies

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  • Stents are the only option offered by my cancer centre but I declined. I went elsewhere for laser treatment. I had two sessions and my swallowing is now normal with none of the above restrictions.

  • Hi John,

    Can you tell us a little more about this treatment and what it involves etc please? I have never heard of this personally although I did have a stent fitted prior to surgery. I found it deeply unpleasant! Not the procedure itself but the feeling and pain afterwards.

    Charlie

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