Pulmonary Artery Migration of a Peripheral Endovascular Stent Discovered Prior to Renal Transplantation: A Case Report

A B S T R A C T

Background: Arteriovenous fistulas and grafts are preferred access for hemodialysis. Outflow stenosis is a common complication that can be managed with angioplasty and stenting. Stent placement can be complicated by thrombosis, limited area of cannulation, fracture, and migration.
Objective: This case reports a rare complication of endovascular stents, namely stent migration to the pulmonary artery in the setting of renal transplantation.
Methods: A 55-year-old woman with end stage renal disease secondary to diabetes mellitus on hemodialysis via a left arm basilic vein transposition. She subsequently developed outflow stenosis that was treated with a stent placement. She was admitted for deceased donor kidney transplantation and preoperative x-ray showed migration of the stent into a segmental pulmonary artery. After a pre-operative, multidisciplinary discussion between interventional radiology, cardiothoracic surgery, transplant nephrology and transplant surgery, the decision was made to proceed with rental transplantation followed by stent removal. Interventional radiology removed the stent on postoperative day two without complication. She has not experienced any complications in the year following her transplantation.
Conclusion: Postoperative stent removal by interventional radiology is a feasible management option in lieu of lifelong anticoagulation.

Keywords

Hemodialysis, endovascular stent, stent migration, renal transplantation

Introduction

Hemodialysis is a mainstay of renal replacement therapy, necessitating placement of either a central venous catheter (CVC), arteriovenous fistula (AVF), or arteriovenous graft (AVG). While CVCs still account for 72% of initial hemodialysis access, almost 80% of patients on the national kidney registry utilize an AVF or AVG for hemodialysis [1, 2]. Up to 50% of AVF can develop juxta-anastomotic stenosis within the first 4-6 weeks following creation, with primary patency of 51% at one year [3, 4]. The principal intervention for stenosis is percutaneous angioplasty; should this fail, endovascular stent placement and surgery are subsequent options. Complications of stent placement include in-stent thrombosis, limited area of cannulation, stent fracture, and stent migration. The first case of stent migration in an end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patient was reported in 1994 [5]. Since then, endovascular stent migration has been reported in up to 4% of patients [6]. The right atrium, right ventricle, and pulmonary arteries are the most lethal destinations of stent migration due to the possibility of complete vascular obstruction [7]. Post-kidney transplant patients are especially vulnerable to negative sequelae of stent migration given their increased chronic hypercoagulability and the subsequent risk of pulmonary embolism [8].

Here, we report a case of vascular stent migration from a left basilic vein-brachial artery fistula to the right interlobar pulmonary artery that was found incidentally during the preoperative evaluation of a kidney transplant recipient. As stated in institutional policy, case studies do not require IRB review. Per our review of the literature, this is the first report of vascular stent migration and successful retrieval in a kidney transplant recipient.

Case Presentation

A 55-year-old woman with end-stage renal disease secondary to type II diabetes mellitus (DM) presented for pre-operative evaluation prior to renal transplantation. She was started on hemodialysis via an indwelling CVC and subsequently underwent creation of a left arm basilic vein transposition. A suitable deceased donor kidney became available and the patient was brought to the hospital for pre-operative evaluation in anticipation of transplantation. On routine preoperative chest X-ray, a three cm stent was incidentally found in a right interlobar pulmonary artery (Figure 1). In a review of the patient’s history, she had developed outflow stenosis of her AVF five months prior and underwent placement of an endovascular stent at an outside facility.

Figure 1: Pre-operative chest radiograph with an incidental pulmonary artery stent (marked by arrow).

Figure 2: Computed tomography of the chest with migration of the stent in the right interlobar pulmonary artery.

CT angiography of the chest was performed and confirmed stent migration to the right interlobar pulmonary artery with extension into the lower lobe pulmonary artery (Figure 2). There was no evidence of thrombosis. Given the location of the stent, there was concern for the potential development of in-stent thrombosis and propagation within the pulmonary artery, erosion of the stent into the pulmonary artery, and increased right heart pressure. Echocardiography demonstrated a normal ejection fraction with a normal right ventricle function and normal right atrial pressures. Cardiothoracic surgery and interventional radiology were consulted. After a multidisciplinary discussion, the peri-operative risk of the newly discovered pulmonary artery stent was deemed acceptable as there was no appreciable right heart strain on echocardiogram and the vasculature appeared patent. The consensus was to proceed with renal transplantation with either subsequent lifelong anticoagulation or post-operative stent retrieval.

Figure 3: Nitinol stent after endovascular removal from the right interlobar pulmonary artery.

She underwent a successful deceased donor renal transplant with a left kidney notable for four arteries and complicated venous anatomy placed into her right pelvis. Her postoperative course was uncomplicated without delayed graft function. On postoperative day 2, she underwent angiography with successful stent retrieval by interventional radiology. Access was gained via the right common femoral artery and after several attempts utilizing a balloon and gooseneck snare, a secondary access point was placed in the right internal jugular vein. This allowed for successful removal of the stent without any evidence of fragmentation. No foreign objects were visualized on postoperative chest radiograph. The stent lumen was noted to have intimal in-growth (Figure 3), suggestive of intimal disruption of the right pulmonary intralobar artery. Given this, the patient was discharged on a three-month course of prophylactic enoxaparin. At one-year post-transplant, she continues to have excellent allograft function and no postoperative complications.

Discussion

There are few reports that describe stent migration to the pulmonary artery (Table 1). Like our case study, the majority of migrated stents are found incidentally on imaging and are not symptomatic at the time of diagnosis. However, five of the twenty-five reported cases presented with symptoms including dyspnea, pleuritic pain, and upper extremity edema. Two patients died secondary to complications of stent migration. One patient presented with pulmonary infarction secondary to stent migration and superior vena cava (SVC) occlusion secondary to a lung malignancy, with resultant respiratory failure that was unable to be reversed after successful SVC catheterization and stent removal [9]. The second patient presented with dyspnea and hemoptysis from a broncho-arterial fistula and died during a pneumonectomy due to uncontrollable bleeding [10].

Endovascular stent migration is a rare complication and there are not well-established guidelines for management. However, there are two general approaches to the management of stents that have migrated to the pulmonary vasculature: either conservative management with prophylactic anticoagulation or procedural intervention. The longest reported follow-up for a patient managed conservatively with prophylactic anticoagulation was four years in a patient treated with long-term Plavix. At four years the patient was asymptomatic, and a CT scan of the chest showed that the stent was stable in location and without signs of surrounding infection [11]. Two reports have utilized long-term warfarin. At six months and nine months follow-ups neither patient experienced symptoms of pulmonary emboli, however, one patient died of metastatic breast cancer [12, 13]. There were no bleeding complications associated with the use of either antiplatelet or anticoagulation therapy.

Table 1: Reports of vascular stent migration to the pulmonary circulation.

Surgical or Percutaneous Management

 

Author

Age/Sex

Medical Hx

Original stent location

Embolization site

Management

Outcome

 

Saeed et al. [17]

54F

Budd-Chiari syndrome

IVC

Left PA

Percutaneous removal

Further follow-up and complications not specified

 

Grosso et al. [18]

66F

Diabetes mellitus

R hepatic vein and R branch of the portal vein

Left PA

Percutaneous removal

3 month follow-up, expired due to chronic renal insufficiency

 

Slonim et al. [6]

     patient 1

 

 

     patient 2

 

46M

 

 

25M

 

 

SVC

 

 

Unspecified upper extremity

 

Left PA

 

 

Right PA

 

Repositioned with balloon to EIV

 

Repositioned with balloon to EIV

Further follow-up and complications not specified

 

Rumi et al. [15]

52M

ESRD, Cirrhosis

Hepatic vein

Left PA

Percutaneous removal

7 month follow-up, no complications

 

Ashar et al. [19]

32M

Trauma, h/o repeated leg swelling

R iliac vein

Right PA and RV

Percutaneous removal

Further follow-up and complications not specified

 

Chiu et al. [14]

82F

ESRD

SVC

Right PA

Attempted percutaneous removal

1 year follow-up, no complications

 

Ho et al. [20]

61M

ESRD

L brachial-to-basilic AV loop

Left main PA

Median sternotomy, left pulmonary artery incision

Discharged on post-operative day 2, no complications

 

Dashkoff et al. [13]

     patient 1

 

 

 

     patient 2

 

33M

 

 

 

46F

 

ESRD 2/2 IgA nephropathy

 

ESRD 2/2 HUS

 

Right basilic vein

 

 

 

Right femoral vein

 

Right LL PA

 

 

 

Right LL PA

 

Percutaneous removal

 

 

 

Warfarin, dose/duration not specified

 

Further follow-up and complications not specified

 

 

Further follow-up and complications not specified

 

Anand et al. [9]

56M

NSCLC

SVC

Left LL PA

Attempted percutaneous removal; ½ remained in R common femoral vein

Expired 3 days after procedure due to respiratory failure

 

Cabestrero et al. [21]

24M

Left pulmonary ostial stenosis

L pulmonary artery branch

Lobar branch distal right PA

Arteriotomy

Further follow-up and complications not specified

 

Plones et al. [10]

64F

Lung cancer, type unspecified

L bronchial branch

Left PA

Palliative pneumonectomy

Expired intraoperatively due to uncontrollable bleeding

 

Balasubramaniyam et al. [22]

44F

ESRD

RLE

Right atrium, Left PA

Initial conservative management, dose/duration not specified; later not specified elective surgical removal

Further follow-up and complications not specified

 

Dwivedi et al. [23]

53F

ESRD

LUE AV Graft

Left PA

Percutaneous removal

2-year follow-up, no complications

 

Conservative Management

Marcy et al. [12]

61F

Stage IV breast cancer

L innominate vein

Right PA

“Long-term anti-vitamin K therapy,” dose/duration not specified

9-month follow-up, expired due to metastatic breast cancer

Sharma et al. [24]

70M

ESRD

R subclavian vein

Right PA

No intervention

7-year follow-up, expired due to UTI-related septicemia

Linda et al. [25]

47F

SCLC

SVC

Left PA

No intervention

3-month follow-up, expired due to respiratory failure

Kakisis et al. [11]

83M

ESRD

L brachiocephalic vein

Right LL PA

Clopidogrel, dose/duration not specified

4-year follow-up, expired due to old age

Fernandez-Juarez et al. [26]

57M

Adult Polycystic Kidney Disease

Left radiocephalic AVF

Right Lung

No intervention

Further follow-up and complications not specified

Gabelmann et al. [27]

 

     patient 1

 

 

     patient 2

 

 

     patient 3

 

 

 

57M

 

 

44M

 

 

52F

 

 

 

Liver  disease

 

Liver disease

Liver disease

 

 

 

TIPS

 

 

TIPS

 

 

TIPS

 

 

 

Right LL PA

 

 

Left LL PA

 

 

Right LL PA

 

 

 

Not specified

 

 

Not specified

 

 

Not specified

 

 

 

42 month mean follow-up among these 3 patients, no complications

Sy [28]

54F

ESRD

Unspecified peripheral AVF

Right LL PA

No intervention

4 month follow-up, symptomatic improvement

Goelitz et al. [16]

48M

Hepatocellular carcinoma

IVC

Right PA

No intervention

Further follow-up and complications not specified

IVC: Inferior Vena Cava; PA: Pulmonary Artery: LL: Lower Lobe; AVF: Arteriovenous Fistula; TIPS: Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt; ESRD: End Stage Renal Disease; RV: Right Ventricle.


Open surgical approaches to stent retrieval exist, but percutaneous intervention is more common and less morbid in the modern era of interventional radiology. There are several reported retrieval techniques, including using a combination of balloon catheters, gooseneck snares, and nitinol snares. Two of the reported percutaneous attempts were unsuccessful, resulting in retained stent fragments in the right pulmonary artery and common femoral vein [9, 14]. There are reports of repositioning stents using balloon catheters to lower risk locations, such as the external iliac vein, without complication [6]. The appropriate timing of stent retrieval can be debated. In our case, the kidney transplant was performed prior to stent retrieval. Evaluation and retrieval require intravenous contrast and can place the renal allograft at increased risk of contrast nephropathy. Given this, it could be argued that transplantation should be postponed until percutaneous stent retrieval is performed. Alternatively, prolonged cold ischaemia time impairs graft function and should be taken into account when deciding timing of stent retrieval.

Of the twenty-five reported cases of stent migration, two are within the transplant literature, specifically in the context of an orthotopic liver transplant. In the first case, a stent that had been placed during a TIPS revision three weeks prior to transplant was found in the left pulmonary artery on routine postoperative chest x-ray [15]. The stent most likely migrated during the transplant procedure, when the native liver was mobilized and there was a dramatic rise in central venous pressure, pulmonary artery pressure, and systemic blood pressure. Intraoperatively, the patient responded to IV nitroglycerin, and on postoperative day 1, his stent was percutaneously repositioned to the right common iliac vein via a nitinol snare. Removal would have required a laparotomy because of the proximal location. Repositioning the stent was pursued as the lower risk alternative to open surgical removal. No complications were reported at seven months follow-up. In the second case report, a hepatic vein stent placed two years after liver transplant for stenosis of the suprahepatic vena cava anastomosis was incidentally found to have fragmented and migrated to the right interlobar pulmonary artery [16]. It was visualized on chest radiograph two years after stent placement when the patient was hospitalized for recurrent ascites and liver failure. Retrieval was not attempted, given the patient was asymptomatic and the risk of the fragmented stent damaging the pulmonary artery or tricuspid valve on removal. No further management or complications were specified.

While stent migration is uncommon, patients with end-stage organ failure frequently require endovascular procedures with stent placement, making them more vulnerable to this complication and its sequelae. From our review of the literature, the “watch and wait” approach and procedural intervention are both viable options for managing this rare complication. However, it is our view that this patient population is at heightened risk of hematologic complications and that if a stent can be retrieved safely, doing so will spare these patients life-long anticoagulation, reduce the risk of subsequent thromboembolic events, and eliminate yet another reason for surveillance.

Highlights

i. Hemodialysis fistulas can stenose which can be treated with angioplasty or stenting.
ii. Endovascular stent migration to the pulmonary artery (PA) is a rare complication.
iii. Stent removal can be completed after transplant without injury to the graft.

Acknowledgements

None.

Conflicts of Interest

None.

Funding

None.

Article Info

Article Type
Case Report
Publication history
Received: Mon 08, Jun 2020
Accepted: Thu 18, Jun 2020
Published: Fri 26, Jun 2020
Copyright
© 2019 Angela Lee. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Hosting by Science Repository. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.31487/j.JSCR.2020.04.01

Author Info

Corresponding Author
Angela Lee
Stanford University School of Medicine, Pasteur Drive, Stanford, California, USA

Figures & Tables

Table 1: Reports of vascular stent migration to the pulmonary circulation.

Surgical or Percutaneous Management

 

Author

Age/Sex

Medical Hx

Original stent location

Embolization site

Management

Outcome

 

Saeed et al. [17]

54F

Budd-Chiari syndrome

IVC

Left PA

Percutaneous removal

Further follow-up and complications not specified

 

Grosso et al. [18]

66F

Diabetes mellitus

R hepatic vein and R branch of the portal vein

Left PA

Percutaneous removal

3 month follow-up, expired due to chronic renal insufficiency

 

Slonim et al. [6]

     patient 1

 

 

     patient 2

 

46M

 

 

25M

 

 

SVC

 

 

Unspecified upper extremity

 

Left PA

 

 

Right PA

 

Repositioned with balloon to EIV

 

Repositioned with balloon to EIV

Further follow-up and complications not specified

 

Rumi et al. [15]

52M

ESRD, Cirrhosis

Hepatic vein

Left PA

Percutaneous removal

7 month follow-up, no complications

 

Ashar et al. [19]

32M

Trauma, h/o repeated leg swelling

R iliac vein

Right PA and RV

Percutaneous removal

Further follow-up and complications not specified

 

Chiu et al. [14]

82F

ESRD

SVC

Right PA

Attempted percutaneous removal

1 year follow-up, no complications

 

Ho et al. [20]

61M

ESRD

L brachial-to-basilic AV loop

Left main PA

Median sternotomy, left pulmonary artery incision

Discharged on post-operative day 2, no complications

 

Dashkoff et al. [13]

     patient 1

 

 

 

     patient 2

 

33M

 

 

 

46F

 

ESRD 2/2 IgA nephropathy

 

ESRD 2/2 HUS

 

Right basilic vein

 

 

 

Right femoral vein

 

Right LL PA

 

 

 

Right LL PA

 

Percutaneous removal

 

 

 

Warfarin, dose/duration not specified

 

Further follow-up and complications not specified

 

 

Further follow-up and complications not specified

 

Anand et al. [9]

56M

NSCLC

SVC

Left LL PA

Attempted percutaneous removal; ½ remained in R common femoral vein

Expired 3 days after procedure due to respiratory failure

 

Cabestrero et al. [21]

24M

Left pulmonary ostial stenosis

L pulmonary artery branch

Lobar branch distal right PA

Arteriotomy

Further follow-up and complications not specified

 

Plones et al. [10]

64F

Lung cancer, type unspecified

L bronchial branch

Left PA

Palliative pneumonectomy

Expired intraoperatively due to uncontrollable bleeding

 

Balasubramaniyam et al. [22]

44F

ESRD

RLE

Right atrium, Left PA

Initial conservative management, dose/duration not specified; later not specified elective surgical removal

Further follow-up and complications not specified

 

Dwivedi et al. [23]

53F

ESRD

LUE AV Graft

Left PA

Percutaneous removal

2-year follow-up, no complications

 

Conservative Management

Marcy et al. [12]

61F

Stage IV breast cancer

L innominate vein

Right PA

“Long-term anti-vitamin K therapy,” dose/duration not specified

9-month follow-up, expired due to metastatic breast cancer

Sharma et al. [24]

70M

ESRD

R subclavian vein

Right PA

No intervention

7-year follow-up, expired due to UTI-related septicemia

Linda et al. [25]

47F

SCLC

SVC

Left PA

No intervention

3-month follow-up, expired due to respiratory failure

Kakisis et al. [11]

83M

ESRD

L brachiocephalic vein

Right LL PA

Clopidogrel, dose/duration not specified

4-year follow-up, expired due to old age

Fernandez-Juarez et al. [26]

57M

Adult Polycystic Kidney Disease

Left radiocephalic AVF

Right Lung

No intervention

Further follow-up and complications not specified

Gabelmann et al. [27]

 

     patient 1

 

 

     patient 2

 

 

     patient 3

 

 

 

57M

 

 

44M

 

 

52F

 

 

 

Liver  disease

 

Liver disease

Liver disease

 

 

 

TIPS

 

 

TIPS

 

 

TIPS

 

 

 

Right LL PA

 

 

Left LL PA

 

 

Right LL PA

 

 

 

Not specified

 

 

Not specified

 

 

Not specified

 

 

 

42 month mean follow-up among these 3 patients, no complications

Sy [28]

54F

ESRD

Unspecified peripheral AVF

Right LL PA

No intervention

4 month follow-up, symptomatic improvement

Goelitz et al. [16]

48M

Hepatocellular carcinoma

IVC

Right PA

No intervention

Further follow-up and complications not specified

IVC: Inferior Vena Cava; PA: Pulmonary Artery: LL: Lower Lobe; AVF: Arteriovenous Fistula; TIPS: Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt; ESRD: End Stage Renal Disease; RV: Right Ventricle.


Science Repository

Figure 1: Pre-operative chest radiograph with an incidental pulmonary artery stent (marked by arrow).


Science Repository

Figure 2: Computed tomography of the chest with migration of the stent in the right interlobar pulmonary artery.


Science Repository

Figure 3: Nitinol stent after endovascular removal from the right interlobar pulmonary artery.



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