Tracheoesophageal fistulas occur as a result of complications from prolonged mechanical ventilation.
Tracheoesophageal fistulas are an uncommon problem. The fistulas — which are abnormal connections between the trachea and esophagus — occur as a result of complications from prolonged mechanical ventilation. Patients must be weaned from mechanical ventilation before primary repair and reconstruction can be considered.
This very difficult group of patients can achieve a high degree of success in re-instituting oral nutrition and eliminating dependence on tracheostomy tubes.
In suitable patients, a single-stage repair has been developed to deal with this very difficult and challenging problem.
— Douglas J. Mathisen, MD