Background: Incomplete endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) staging procedures in patients with esophageal cancer due to obstructing malignant strictures are prone to underestimate T stage and cannot detect celiac adenopathy. EUS staging in the setting of stenotic malignancies using the large caliber echoendoscope has been complicated by esophageal perforation. We report on the clinical utility of a newly developed, wire-guided echoendoscope for the complete staging of patients with esophageal cancer. Methods: Pretreatment EUS examinations performed for esophageal cancer staging were evaluated and the ability to traverse the esophagus and examine the celiac axis were documented. Outcomes before and after the availability of the wire-guided echoendoscope were compared. Results: One hundred thirty consecutive examinations were evaluated - 100 before and 30 after the introduction of the wire-guided echoendoscope. Complete staging was accomplished in 60 of 100 (60%) cases before and 27 of 30 (90%) after its introduction (p = 0.002). The wire-guided echoendoscope was used in 14 of the 30 cases. Despite a trend toward fewer stage T4 tumors, metastatic disease was documented significantly more frequently after the introduction of the esophagoprobe (34% vs. 11%, p = 0.002). There were no complications. Conclusions: The introduction of the wire-guided echoendoscope markedly reduced the occurrence of incomplete esophageal cancer staging and improved the detection of metastatic disease.
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