Aortoesophageal fistula after thoracic aortic stent-graft placement: a rare but catastrophic complication of a novel emerging technique.

Our goal was to report characteristics and outcomes of 6 patients with aortoesophageal fistula (AEF) after thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR).
Neurologic events are severe complications of TEVAR. With growing experience of TEVAR, other yet unexpected devastating complications have emerged.
Between July 1999 and August 2008, 268 patients underwent TEVAR for various thoracic aortic diseases at our institution.
Six of 268 patients (age 49 to 77 years, 50% female patients) developed AEF (incidence 1.9%) within 1 to 16 months after the procedure. Indications for TEVAR were acute aortic dissection (n = 3), chronic aortic dissection (n = 1), and thoracic aortic aneurysm (n = 2). Four patients presented with sudden massive hematemesis whereas 2 patients were readmitted for new-onset fever and elevated markers of inflammation that preceded hematemesis. Esophago-gastro-duodenoscopy identified deep esophageal ulcerations at the level of the implanted aortic stent-graft in 4 patients, but only mild erosive lesions within the proximal esophagus without signs of active bleeding in the remaining 2 patients. Surgical repair was performed in only 1 patient and declined in the remaining because of comorbidities and multiorgan system failure. Despite this, all patients died due to fatal rebleeding (n = 4) or mediastinitis (n = 2).
AEF is a rare and unusual complication of TEVAR that occurs relatively early after the procedure and is almost invariably fatal. New-onset fever with elevated inflammatory markers or hematemesis should heighten clinical suspicion of AEF in TEVAR patients and prompt computed tomography or esophago-gastro-duodenoscopy in the hope of detecting, triaging, and treating this early to improve the otherwise dismal outcomes of these patients.
AuthorsHolger Eggebrecht, Rajendra H Mehta, Alexander Dechene, Konstantinos Tsagakis, Hilmar Kühl, Sebastian Huptas, Guido Gerken, Heinz G Jakob, Raimund Erbel
JournalJACC. Cardiovascular interventions (JACC Cardiovasc Interv) Vol. 2 Issue 6 Pg. 570-6 (Jun 2009) ISSN: 1876-7605 [Electronic] United States
PMID19539264 (Publication Type: Journal Article)
Chemical References
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Aged
  • Aneurysm, Dissecting (surgery)
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic (surgery)
  • Aortic Diseases (etiology, mortality, pathology, surgery)
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis Implantation (adverse effects, instrumentation)
  • Databases as Topic
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System
  • Esophageal Fistula (etiology, mortality, surgery)
  • Female
  • Fever (etiology)
  • Hemorrhage (etiology)
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators (blood)
  • Male
  • Mediastinitis (etiology)
  • Middle Aged
  • Stents
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Fistula (etiology, mortality, pathology, surgery)

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