Background and study aims There is burgeoning interest in the utilization of covered self-expandable metal stents (CSEMSs) for managing benign biliary stricture (BBS). This systematic review and meta-analysis evaluated cumulative stricture resolution and recurrence rates using CSEMSs and compared performance of CSEMSs and multiple plastic stents (MPS) in BBS management. Method Searches in several databases identified studies including≥10 patients that utilized CSEMSs for BBS treatment. Weighted pooled rates were calculated for stricture resolution and recurrence. Pooled risk ratios (RRs) comparing CSEMSs with MPS were calculated for stricture resolution, stricture recurrence, and adverse events. Pooled difference in means was calculated to compare number of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatographies (ERCPs) in each group. Results The meta-analysis included 22 studies with 1298 patients. Weighted pooled rate for BBS resolution with CSEMS was 83% (95% confidence limits [95%CLs] 78%, 87%; I 2 =72%). On meta-regression analysis, resolution in chronic pancreatitis patients and post-orthotopic liver transplant patients were significant predictors of heterogeneity. Weighted pooled rate for stricture recurrence with CSEMSs was 16% (11%, 22%). Overall rate of adverse events requiring intervention and/or hospitalization was 15%. Four randomized controlled trials with 213 patients compared CSEMSs with MPS: the pooled RRs for stricture resolution, recurrence, and adverse events were 1.07 (0.97, 1.18), 0.88 (0.48, 1.63), and 1.16 (0.71, 1.88), respectively with no heterogeneity. Pooled difference in means for number of ERCPs was-1.71 (-2.33,-1.09) in favor of CSEMS. Conclusions CSEMSs appear to have excellent efficacy in BBS management. They are as effective as MPS but require fewer ERCPs to achieve clinical success.
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