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J Pediatr Surg. 2018 Jul;53(7):1420-1423. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2018.04.024. Epub 2018 Apr 27.

Thoracoscopic posterior tracheopexy during primary esophageal atresia repair: a new approach to prevent tracheomalacia complications.

Author information

1
Department of Paediatric Surgery, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, University Medical Center Utrecht, P.O. Box 85090, 3508 AB Utrecht, The Netherlands. Electronic address: s.tytgat@umcutrecht.nl.
2
Department of Paediatric Surgery, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, University Medical Center Utrecht, P.O. Box 85090, 3508 AB Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Esophageal atresia (EA) is usually accompanied by some form of tracheomalacia (TM). During the early phases in life, excessive dynamic collapse of the trachea can cause a wide spectrum of symptoms ranging from mild complaints to apparent life-threatening events (ALTE's) or brief resolved unexplained events (BRUE's). Therapeutic strategies for severe TM include aortopexy to lift the anterior weakened cartilaginous rings or posterior tracheopexy of the floppy membranous tracheal intrusion. In this study, we describe the development of a new approach in which the posterior tracheopexy is performed directly during the primary thoracoscopic correction of EA.

METHODS:

In 2017, all nine consecutive EA patients with trachea-esophageal fistula underwent a rigid tracheo-bronchoscopy (RTB) evaluation during induction of anesthesia prior to the thoracoscopic EA repair. A floppy posterior membrane was diagnosed in four patients. During the subsequent thoracoscopic procedure, the posterior membranous trachea was fixed to the anterior longitudinal spinal ligament with non-absorbable sutures. Then, the anastomosis was made between the two esophageal pouches.

RESULTS:

On preoperative RTB, two patients had a severe (70-90%) mid-tracheal collapse of the pars membranacea and two patients had a moderate (33-40%) mid-tracheal collapse. Thoracoscopic posterior tracheopexy with two or three sutures was possible in all four patients, prior to the formation of the esophageal anastomosis. Median time per suture was 6 min (range 4-12 min). All operative procedures were uneventful. A median follow-up of 6 months (range 4-9 months) revealed that all patients showed further recovery without any TM symptoms or ALTE/BRUE.

CONCLUSIONS:

This is the first report that introduces a new approach to thoracoscopic posterior tracheopexy during primary EA repair. We believe that this technique can prevent the potentially deleterious sequelae of mild to severe TM that may complicate the lives of EA patients. Also, a second, sometimes complex surgical procedure can be prevented as the posterior tracheopexy is performed during the primary thoracoscopic EA correction.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

IV.

KEYWORDS:

ALTE/BRUE; Esophageal atresia; Posterior tracheopexy; Prevention; Thoracoscopy; Tracheomalacia

PMID:
29804792
DOI:
10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2018.04.024
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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