• Ureter;
  • stricture;
  • Memokath 051;
  • nickel-titanium;
  • shape-memory alloy


To assess the ease on insertion, patient tolerance, undesirable side-effects, degree of encrustation and duration of upper tract decompression with a new thermo-expandable shape memory alloy ureteric stent.

Patients and methods

From November 1996 to October 1998, 15 patients with ureteric strictures were treated with a new nickel-titanium shape-memory alloy stent, the Memokath 051 (Engineers & Doctors A/S, Hornbaek, Denmark). A total of 22 insertions were carried out. Ureteric obstruction was caused by recurrent colorectal carcinoma in four patients; two patients each with transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder, iatrogenic injury or ischaemia at the uretero-ileal anastomosis; and one patient each with metastatic lymph nodes from prostatic carcinoma, radiation-induced fibrosis, pelvi-ureteric junction obstruction, metastatic carcinoma of the vagina and extra-luminal endometriosis. The stent has a shaft diameter of 9 F and its proximal end expands to 17 F. The first three patients were treated with the original version, which expanded to 14 F. The unexpanded stent is inserted into the ureter after initial dilatation of the stricture to 12 F. The stent is expanded by injection with sterile water preheated to 50 °C. The procedures were carried out under a general anaesthetic and patients were allowed home the next day. The follow-up protocol included initial intravenous urography (IVU) at 6 weeks, with assessment of a mid-stream urine sample and renal function tests. These were repeated at 3-monthly intervals. Isotopic renography was performed when indicated.


The mean (range) follow-up was 10.6 (2–21) months; there was complete relief of upper tract obstruction in all patients. No stent-related symptoms, e.g. pain, sepsis, haematuria or frequency, were noted and no encrustation has occurred so far. The stent migrated in the first three patients with the original smaller diameter of stent but decompression of the upper tracts was maintained. None of the modified wider stents have migrated. The return of peristalsis in the proximal ureter was detected during IVU. There was no apparent endothelial growth through the stent material and no re-admissions for stent-related complications.


Early experience with this new stent is very encouraging. All patients have maintained satisfactory decompression of their upper tracts with no need for repeated hospitalization for stent changes. There have been no untoward side-effects so far. This stent appears to have a valuable place in the long-term management of ureteric strictures; it is probably most suited for malignant ureteric obstruction. It should be considered in the management of selected benign strictures that require long-term JJ stenting.