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Ann Vasc Surg. 2016 May;33:230.e5-230.e13. doi: 10.1016/j.avsg.2015.11.033. Epub 2016 Mar 8.

A Case of Primary Aortoenteric Fistula: Review of Therapeutic Challenges.

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Department of Vascular Surgery, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
Department of Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Antwerp University Hospital, Antwerp, Belgium.
Department of Vascular Surgery, University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. Electronic address:



Primary aortoenteric fistula (PAEF) is a lethal cause of gastrointestinal bleeding. They mainly originate from eroding abdominal aortic aneurysms into the intestinal wall. Other known causes involve malignancies, infection, corpora aliena, or radiation therapy. Traditional treatment consists of resection of the fistula and extra-anatomic reconstruction. In situ repair and endovascular stenting have offered new therapeutic options in managing this complex entity.


A 79-year-old woman presented with a PAEF. She was known with a 3.9-cm abdominal aortic aneurysm and polymyalgia rheumatica. The initial treatment consisted of endovascular stenting. Several months later, she presented with persistent inflammation of the aortic endoprosthesis. The prosthesis and inflammatory tissue were resected, and in situ reconstruction with autologous superficial femoral vein and omentoplasty was performed. Two years later, she remains well with no evidence for infection or bleeding.


Polymyalgia rheumatica might induce an AEF as in this patient no other provoking factors were retained. The different therapeutic options all have their advantages and disadvantages. In line with this case, we suggest an individualized approach for AEFs. In case of precarious hemodynamical state or life expectancy, endovascular treatment is indicated. Afterward, the possibility and/or necessity of open repair should be discussed. For stable patients with respectable life expectancy in situ repair with autologuous vein or rifampicin-soaked prosthesis (adjusted to comorbidities) might be most appropriate. Extra-anatomic reconstruction still remains a valuable alternative in older patients and in the presence of any other local factors hampering in situ reconstruction.

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