Management of symptomatic tracheal pouches

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2007 Apr;71(4):527-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2006.10.024. Epub 2007 Feb 6.


Objective: Acquired tracheal pouches arise following tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF) repair, but are usually asymptomatic. Symptomatic tracheal pouches are rare, and the optimal management strategy debated. The evolution of our management to this challenging problem is presented.

Design: A case series over a 5-year period.

Setting: A tertiary care pediatric hospital.

Patients: Children with a past history of TEF repair in whom severity of pouch-related respiratory symptomatology warranted surgical intervention.

Main outcome measures: Symptomatology, bronchoscopic findings, number and type of surgical interventions required, complications, and outcomes.

Results: Eleven patients required surgical intervention for a symptomatic tracheal pouch. Symptoms were due to stasis of secretions with associated pulmonary soiling in three children, severe tracheomalacia in six children, and respiratory obstruction related to the tip of a tracheotomy tube or endotracheal tube being displaced intermittently into the pouch in six children. Surgical management of the pouch included one fulguration with the CO(2) laser, one with microlaryngeal instruments, Bugbee cautery in two, open resection in one, and transcervical division in another. The final five children had endoscopic pouch division with Clickline biopsy forceps. All children have had resolution of their pouch-related symptoms, although two remain tracheotomy-dependent.

Conclusions: Symptomatic tracheal pouches are rare. Surgical intervention to divide the common party wall between the trachea and the pouch may alleviate associated respiratory symptomatology. The Clickline biopsy forceps is a safe, rapid, and effective method of dividing a tracheal pouch.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diverticulum / etiology
  • Diverticulum / surgery*
  • Electrocoagulation
  • Endoscopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Laser Therapy
  • Male
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tracheal Diseases / etiology
  • Tracheal Diseases / surgery*
  • Tracheoesophageal Fistula / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome