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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 188-192

Tracheoesophageal fistula: Bridging the gap by over-the-scope clip services

Department of Gastroenterology, MS Ramaiah Memorial Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication11-Feb-2019

Correspondence Address:
Avinash Bhat Balekuduru
Department of Gastroenterology, MS Ramaiah Memorial Hospital, Bengaluru - 560 054, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jde.JDE_18_18

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Tracheoesophageal fistula (TOF) can be congenital or acquired. Acquired TOF can be caused by iatrogenic or traumatic or due to malignancy with pulmonary infection or aspiration being the presenting symptom. Management of TOF is associated with high mortality and morbidity and remains an interdisciplinary challenge. In general, depending on the size and location of the tracheal aspect of the fistula, surgical therapy involves primary repair of the fistula and, if necessary, resection and reconstruction of the trachea. We present two cases of iatrogenic TOF following surgery successfully closed using over-the-scope clips. This report also compares both the Ovesco and Padlock clip devices.

Keywords: Endoscopic closure devices, over-the-scope clips, tracheoesophageal fistula

How to cite this article:
Balekuduru AB, Dhande S, Venkateshappa LL, Subbaraj SB. Tracheoesophageal fistula: Bridging the gap by over-the-scope clip services. J Dig Endosc 2018;9:188-92

How to cite this URL:
Balekuduru AB, Dhande S, Venkateshappa LL, Subbaraj SB. Tracheoesophageal fistula: Bridging the gap by over-the-scope clip services. J Dig Endosc [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 Jun 26];9:188-92. Available from: http://www.jdeonline.in/text.asp?2018/9/4/188/252095

  Introduction Top

Atracheoesophageal fistula (TOF) is an abnormal communication between the trachea and the esophagus due to either a congenital or an acquired condition. Congenital TOF is due to an incomplete development of the tracheoesophageal septum occurring between the 4th and 8th week of the embryonic period.[1] Acquired TOF is secondary to malignancy, infections, or traumatic which is either mechanical or iatrogenic.[2] Endotracheal tube (ETT) cuff-related trauma contributes to the majority of TOFs in the nonmalignant group. The incidence of tracheal erosion as a result of an ETT in mechanically ventilated patients is 0.3%–3%.[3] TOFs are thought to be due to erosion from the tube tip or cuff into the posterior wall of the trachea to result in a fistulous communication with the esophagus. The other etiologies of iatrogenic complication include endoscopic procedures (e.g., endobronchial brachytherapy) or lobectomy.[4]

TOF may present with recurrent aspiration pneumonia or recurrent hypoxemic events, which may prolong the duration of mechanical ventilation. TOF may also present with acute respiratory distress, evidence of enteral feed in ETT aspirate during suctioning, positive air leak, and gastric distension.[5]

This case report describes two cases of TOF closure using over–the-scope clips. Both TOFs are successfully closed – one by Padlock and another by Ovesco clips. Both the patients did well and were asymptomatic for 1–6 months after the placement of clips.

  Case Reports Top

Case presentation 1

A 56-year-old male presented with a 7-year history of cough on swallowing liquids and recent onset postprandial chest pain. He had recurrent lower respiratory tract infections requiring multiple courses of oral antibiotics. He was diagnosed to have chronic bronchitis at an outside hospital. He had no vomiting or gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. He had a history of the right posterolateral thoracotomy at the 5th intercostal space for suspected lung tumor 7 years back, and the operative details were not available. He had no addictions.

At the time of her presentation, his complete blood count and differential were normal. Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) was performed which revealed a pseudodiverticulum at 26 cm and a fistulous opening at 30 cm from incisors [Figure 1]. A barium esophagogram revealed a fistula between the lower esophagus and segmental bronchus of the right lower lung field [Figure 2]. The option of endoscopic closure and surgery was discussed with the patient and the relatives, and the following procedure was performed. Under conscious sedation, endoscopy was performed using forward-viewing single-channel gastroscope (GIF 180; Olympus Optical Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan). Padlock Clip (Aponos Medical, Kingston, NH, United States) was successfully deployed for the closure of esophageal edge of the fistula site. Repeat barium swallow confirmed closure of TOF [Figure 3]. He was asymptomatic at 9-month follow-up.
Figure 1: Tracheoesophageal fistula secondary to lobectomy and Padlock clip closure

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Figure 2: Bronchoesophageal fistula Type III

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Figure 3: Barium swallow image of successful clip closure of tracheoesophageal fistula

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Case presentation 2

A 19-year-old male sustained road traffic accident and was operated in a referral hospital for lacerated neck wound and fracture of the mandible. Postsurgery, he had cough on swallowing liquids, was diagnosed to have aspiration pneumonia, and was discharged on oral antibiotics. He underwent EGD and a fistulous opening was noted at 21 cm from incisors with upper esophageal sphincter at 17 cm. Barium esophagogram confirmed the diagnosis of TOF in the upper esophagus. After discussing treatment options of surgery and endoscopic closure by clips, the following procedure was performed. A trial suctioning was done using an empty variceal band ligator cap, and later using 9 mm × 11 mm Ovesco clip (Ovesco Endoscopy, Tubingen, Germany), the fistula was successfully closed, and he is asymptomatic at 1-month follow up [Figure 4] and [Figure 5].
Figure 4: Tracheoesophageal fistula at postcricoid region and Ovesco clip closure

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Figure 5: Barium swallow image of tracheoesophageal fistula pre- and post-clip closure

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Figure 6: Tip of the scope with mounted Ovesco clip

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Figure 7: Side view of the tip of the scope with mounted Ovesco clip

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  Discussion Top

TOF can be either congenital or acquired. Congenital TOF can present in adults, but three criteria have to be met: No surrounding inflammation or malignancy, absence of adherent lymph nodes, and presence of normal mucosa.[6]

The most common etiology of nonmalignant acquired TOF is a complication of intubation with cuff-related tracheal injury. Thin barium can confirm and type the TOF. Braimbridge and Keith classified TOF as (i) Type I, esophageal diverticulum with a large ostium and a fistula at its tip; (ii) Type II, a short tract running directly from the esophagus to the bronchus or the trachea; (iii) Type III, a fistulous tract connecting the esophagus to a cyst in the lobe, which, in turn, communicates with the bronchus; and (iv) Type IV, a fistula that runs into a sequestrated segment or lobe.[7]

In Case 1, Type III Braimbridge and Keith bronchoesophageal fistula secondary to earlier lobectomy was noted. Padlock clip was placed as the TOF was at 30 cm from incisors. In Case 2, the TOF was in the postcricoid region and was secondary to intubation, and Ovesco clip was used for closure of TOF. In both the cases, there was no immediate postprocedural complication. Both the clips were applied successfully. Padlock clip closure of TOF was attempted in two other cases but failed in one case, there was a stricture adjacent to TOF, and the approximation of the edges was not feasible, and in another, the defect was large 3 cm with fibrotic edges. The main reason for success was complete approximation of the borders of the defect inside the cap with maximum suction in both the cases. The first case we had no option of Ovesco clip as it was not available in India at that time. For the second case, Ovesco was chosen for technicality. The article was written with a table so that it becomes easy to select between the two clips which none of the earlier articles had mentioned. The comparison between the two clips is as given in [Table 1].
Table 1: Tracheoesophageal Fistula - Bridging the gap by over the scope clip services

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Size of the luminal defect and not the length of the leak or fistula outside the GI tract and time from perforation play a role with smaller defects and acute perforations being easier to close than larger and chronic ones.[9] The classic acronym foreign bodies, radiation, infection/inflammation, epithelialization, neoplasm, distal obstruction, and steroids in the setting of fistula management is imperative to long-term success.[9] To our knowledge, there are only few case reports of TOF successfully sealed with clips. Over-the-scope clip clips are easy to apply, and they can be used for closure of TOFs.

  Conclusions Top

Over-the-scope clips might be considered for bridging the gap of TOF from the esophageal end. It can be an alternative to surgery in selected TOF cases such as poor surgical candidate, small defect <1 cm, benign etiology of TOF, and inpatient consenting for clip.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Ng J, Antao B, Bartram J, Raghavan A, Shawis R. Diagnostic difficulties in the management of H-type tracheoesophageal fistula. Acta Radiol 2006;47:801-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
Reed MF, Mathisen DJ. Tracheoesophageal fistula. Chest Surg Clin N Am 2003;13:271-89.  Back to cited text no. 2
Couraud L, Ballester MJ, Delaisement C. Acquired tracheoesophageal fistula and its management. Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 1996;8:392-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
Bibas BJ, Guerreiro Cardoso PF, Minamoto H, Eloy-Pereira LP, Tamagno MF, Terra RM, et al. Surgical management of benign acquired tracheoesophageal fistulas: A Ten-year experience. Ann Thorac Surg 2016;102:1081-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
Shen KR, Allen MS, Cassivi SD, Nichols FC 3rd, Wigle DA, Harmsen WS, et al. Surgical management of acquired nonmalignant tracheoesophageal and bronchoesophageal fistulae. Ann Thorac Surg 2010;90:914-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
Linnane BM, Canny G. Congenital broncho-esophageal fistula: A case report. Respir Med 2006;100:1855-7.  Back to cited text no. 6
Braimbridge Mv, Keith HI. OESOPHAGO-BRONCHIAL FISTULA IN THE ADULT. Thorax 1965;20:226-33.  Back to cited text no. 7
Prosst RL, Kratt T. A randomized comparative trial of OTSC and padlock for upper GI hemostasis in a standardized experimental setting. Minim Invasive Ther Allied Technol 2017;26:65-70.  Back to cited text no. 8
Winder JS, Pauli EM. Comprehensive management of full-thickness luminal defects: The next frontier of gastrointestinal endoscopy. World J Gastrointest Endosc 2015;7:758-68.  Back to cited text no. 9


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6], [Figure 7]

  [Table 1]


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