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Thorax. 2008 Apr;63(4):374-6. doi: 10.1136/thx.2007.083857.

A new bronchoscopic treatment of tracheomediastinal fistula using autologous adipose-derived stem cells.

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Thoracic Surgery Unit, Residencia General, Hospital Universitario "La Paz", Paseo de la Castellana 261, 28046 Madrid, Spain.


Tracheal fistulas represent a challenging management problem. The standard treatment in most cases is based on surgical procedures. Various endoscopic treatment modalities have been proposed in patients at high surgical risk but the results are often unsatisfactory. The fistulas frequently recur with additional complications and sometimes death. The case history is reported of a patient with a tracheomediastinal fistula resulting from laser treatment of tracheal cancer. The fistula was treated by bronchoscopic injection of autologous adipose-derived stem cells (ASC) suspended in fibrin glue. The patient's stem cells were isolated from lipoaspirate according to a standard-ised procedure. No complications due to treatment with ASC occurred during the follow-up period and no fistula-related symptoms were detected. Postoperative bronchoscopic examination of the wall and base of the fistula revealed re-epithelialisation and neovascularisation that led to successful closure. To our knowledge, this is the first report of treatment of tracheal fistula by autologous cell therapy. Further studies are needed to confirm whether this new method should become routine practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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