Aorto-esophageal fistula (AEF) is a rare and lethal entity, and the difficulty of making diagnosis of AEF is well-known. As promising results in the short-term effectiveness of thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) promote its usage, the occurrence of AEF after TEVAR (post-TEVAR AEF) increases as one of the major complications. Therefore, we provide a review concerning the management strategy of post-TEVAR AEF. Although its representative symptom was reported as the triad of mid-thoracic pain and sentinel hematemesis followed by massive hematemesis, the symptom-free interval between sentinel hemorrhage and massive exsanguination is unpredictable. However, the physiological condition represents a surgical contraindication. Accordingly, early diagnosis is important, but either CT or esophago-gastro-duodenoscopy rarely depicts a typical image. The formation of post-TEVAR AEF might be associated with the infection of micro-organisms, which is uncontrollable with anti-biotic administration. The current first-line strategy is combination therapy as follows, (1) to control bleeding by TEVAR in the urgent phase, and (2) radical debridement and aortic/esophageal re-construction in the semi-urgent phase. In view of the high mortality and morbidity rate, it is proposed that the choice in treatment strategies might be affected by patient`s condition, size of the wall defects and the etiology of AEF. Practically, we should keep in mind the importance of making an early diagnosis and, once a suspicious symptom has occurred in a patient with a history of TEVAR, the existence of post-TEVAR AEF should be suspected. A prospective registry together with more developed technologies will be needed to establish a future strategy.
- Aorto-esophageal fistula
- Thoracic aortic aneurysm
- Thoracic endovascular aortic repair
ASJC Scopus subject areas