• benign;
  • surgical management;
  • tracheoesophageal fistula


Benign esophagorespiratory fistula is a relatively rare condition in adults that poses a technical challenge to manage. This case series describes our experience in the treatment of benign esophagorespiratory fistula in 12 adults. A retrospective review of case records of 12 patients with benign esophagorespiratory fistula was done. There were eight tracheoesophageal fistulae and four bronchoesophageal fistulae. Among them, four fistulae were congenital, one was secondary to corrosive injury, three were due to foreign body (dentures), one was secondary to erosion because of prolonged endotracheal intubation, one was secondary to penetrating trauma, and two were infective in etiology. Of the 12 patients, there were nine males and three females. The mean age of presentation was 30.16 years (range 15–53 years). Nine patients had a definitive surgical intervention. The esophageal end of the fistula was managed by primary closure of the esophageal defect and reinforcement with pleural or intercostal muscle flap or a subtotal esophagectomy. The respiratory end of the fistula was dealt with by primary closure of the defect or by a novel technique of neomembranous airway formation, whereby the tracheal defect was closed with the help of a vascularized patch of the esophageal wall. The technique of this neomembranous airway formation is described in detail, and to our knowledge, this is the first time that this technique is being reported in the English literature. This technique is a novel method for definitive repair and can be considered as an option for repair of esophagorespiratory fistula with large defects.