Treatment of Airway-Esophageal Fistulas

  • Lutz FreitagEmail author


Esophago-respiratory fistulas are abnormal communications between the airways and the esophagus causing a spillover of saliva or gastric fluid into the lungs. More than 50 % are located in the trachea, followed by the stem bronchi (40 %), and a few connect directly to the parenchyma. The etiology is multifactorial. Pediatricians encounter congenital abnormalities that require immediate surgical corrections in the early days of life. It is estimated that 0.04 % of babies are born with such a defect. Most fistulas are acquired. Pulmonologists, gastroenterologists, and thoracic surgeons encounter such a clinical condition when they treat cancer patients. In the vast majority (77 %), the underlying disease is an advanced esophageal cancer. A quarter of all patients with esophageal cancer have abnormalities between the esophagus and the trachea, half of those develop a visible communication.


Esophageal Cancer Percutaneous Dilatation Tracheostomy Advanced Esophageal Cancer Aspiration Pneumonitis Esophageal Stents 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lungenklinik Hemer, Center for Pulmonary Medicine and Thoracic SurgeryHemerGermany

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