Use of laser in the relief of malignant dysphagia: a district hospital experience

Emad A H Aly, Phillip Burgess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Endoscopic laser treatment offers rapid relief from dysphagia. The major drawback of laser therapy is the need for repeated treatment at 4- to 6-week intervals. Laser therapy is often done in tertiary referral centres and is said to require special expertise that is not available in many peripheral hospitals. For smaller centres, intubation is likely to be the only treatment option even though it gives less quality of palliation.

AIM: To report the experience of a district general hospital in laser treatment of malignant dysphagia.

METHODS: A retrospective study on patients who had laser therapy for relief from malignant dysphagia from march 1995 to January 2000 was performed in a district general hospital in the UK.

RESULTS: Forty patients (25 males and 15 females) with histologically proven oesophageal carcinoma were unsuitable for surgical resection. Trainees, under supervision, did 20% of the sessions. Treatment was done on a day case basis with no outpatient follow-up. The patients had direct access to the service whenever dysphagia got worse. The median number of sessions per patient was 4 (range 1-13). The median palliation period per session was 7 (range 1-32) weeks. The median total palliation period was 7 months. There was no procedure-related mortality.

CONCLUSION: Laser therapy is a safe, easy to teach and learn technique for relief from malignant dysphagia. It can be done on a day case basis with minimum need for follow-up and hospital visits. Such a service could be provided in a district general hospital set-up once equipment and experience are available, thus saving patients from having to travel to specialist units.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-8
Number of pages6
JournalDigestive Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Deglutition Disorders
  • Esophageal Neoplasms
  • Female
  • Hospitals, General
  • Humans
  • Laser Coagulation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Palliative Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United Kingdom
  • Journal Article


Dive into the research topics of 'Use of laser in the relief of malignant dysphagia: a district hospital experience'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this