A novel approach in managing challenging tracheoesophageal fistulae

Mark E. Quick, Neil Giblett, Trina C. Uwiera, Hayley Herbert, Shyan Vijayasekaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To analyze the outcomes of an open anterior cervical approach and tospecifically describe a novel extended tracheotomy incision (“Key-hole technique”) torepair H-type and other challenging tracheoesophageal fistulae (TOF) at a singletertiary pediatric center. Method: A retrospective chart analysis of pediatric patients (0–18 years old) who had undergone repair of TOF's between January 2006 and March 2020 were reviewed. A case series of patients who had undergone open cervical utilizing three different techniques were included. Patient demographics, surgical management and post-operative surgical outcomes including complications were evaluated. Results: During the study period, 117 pediatric patients were diagnosed and anaged with TOFs with or without oesophageal atresia. Within this group, 12 patients (10%) had anterior open cervical repair of congenital or persisting TOFs (6 males and 6 females). Eight cases (7%) had congenital Type E (known as H-type), two had type D, one type B and one type C TOF. Median gestational age was 37 weeks (range 28–41 weeks), age of presentation ranged from 1 day old to 3 years old with 67% being diagnosed within the first month of life. At the time of definitive surgery all patients had a bronchoscopy and oesophagoscopy to confirm the diagnosis, identify the level of the fistula and place a catheter through the fistula. This cases series of open anterior cervical repair of TOFs comprised of seven (58%) patients who had primary extraluminal tracheal approach, four (33%) with extended tracheotomy incision (‘Key-hole’ technique) and one (9%) patient with slide tracheoplasty for recurrent type C TOF in the presence of subglottic stenosis. Eleven of the twelve patients had successful open anterior cervical repair of TOF. One patient who had primary open anterior cervical repair with the ‘Key-hole’ technique had recurrence managed successfully with slide tracheoplasty. There were no cases of recurrent laryngeal nerve injury. Conclusion: This series demonstrates that open anterior cervical approach to correct TOFs is an effective and safe method in the majority of cases of congenital and acquired fistulae where there is no oesophageal atresia or the atresia is corrected (in the case of recurrent or second fistulae). We also present the outcomes of a novel surgical “Keyhole” technique to manage TOF fistulas via an extended-tracheotomy incision. We also found that slide tracheoplasty is an effective salvage operation in the case of complex recurrent fistulae.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110261
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'A novel approach in managing challenging tracheoesophageal fistulae'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this