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Gen Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2013 Oct;61(10):560-4. doi: 10.1007/s11748-013-0280-y. Epub 2013 Jun 28.

Surgical strategy for aortoesophageal fistula in the endovascular era.

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Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Hokkaido University Hospital, Kita-14, Nishi-5, Kita-ku, Sapporo, 060-8648, Japan,



Aortoesophageal fistula (AEF) is relatively rare and usually life-threatening. Lots of strategies have so far been discussed for this entity including the role of endovascular repair. The aim of this study is to review our experiences and reconsider the surgical strategy for aortoesophageal fistula in the endovascular era.


This is a retrospective multicenter study. From 1995 to 2011, 10 aortoesophageal fistula cases were identified in four institutions. For all of these cases surgical procedures and results were retrieved from medical records.


Six patients underwent open aortic repair and four patients underwent thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) as a primary intervention. Three patients who underwent open aortic repair with esophagectomy and omental coverage in early phase, either as a primary intervention or performed after bridging TEVAR, showed 100 % 1-year survival. On the other hand, three patients with TEVAR alone did not survive more than 1 year without recurrence. One patient with bridging TEVAR underwent concomitant esophageal resection and conventional aortic graft replacement 2 days later, and simultaneous gastric tube reconstruction was performed with intact whole omentum covering the aortic prosthesis. This patient is doing well with no sign of infection at 1-year follow-up.


For AEF, TEVAR as a primary approach is quite useful to stabilize the patients' condition. However, definitive aortic repair with omental coverage should be performed as early as possible as a next step. It may be one of the strategies for the treatment of AEF that concomitant esophageal resection and aortic graft replacement is performed with simultaneous gastric tube reconstruction with intact whole omentum after removing the stent graft, so far as the patient's physical condition permits.

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