Primary closure of persistent tracheocutaneous fistula in pediatric patients

J Pediatr Surg. 2008 Oct;43(10):1786-90. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2008.01.010.


Objective: The aim of the study is to review the safety and efficacy of partial fistulectomy with 3-layered primary closure without postoperative intubation for persistent tracheocutaneous fistula (TCF).

Design: This is a retrospective study.

Setting: The study was conducted in a tertiary care pediatric hospital.

Patients: Records of 49 children treated for persistent TCF between 1996 and 2005 were reviewed. Patients were studied if the TCF was closed using a 3-layered primary closure, and they had at least 1 year of follow-up. Thirty-nine patients met inclusion criteria.

Results: All patients were extubated immediately after surgery. Drains were removed, and all patients were discharged on the first postoperative day. The most common indications for tracheostomy were prolonged intubation and subglottic stenosis. There were 2 major and 3 minor complications. One major complication involved subcutaneous emphysema that developed on the seventh postoperative day because of cough. The other involved a poorly controlled diabetic patient who developed a postoperative infection with dehiscence. All fistulas remained closed at follow-up.

Conclusion: Partial excision and primary closure of persistent TCF is safe and effective. Drain placement and overnight observation are imperative. Careful patient selection is important. Routine postoperative intubation is not necessary.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Cough / complications
  • Cutaneous Fistula / etiology
  • Cutaneous Fistula / surgery*
  • Device Removal
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / statistics & numerical data
  • Laryngostenosis / etiology
  • Laryngostenosis / surgery
  • Male
  • Patient Selection
  • Postoperative Care / methods
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Respiratory Tract Fistula / etiology
  • Respiratory Tract Fistula / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Subcutaneous Emphysema / etiology
  • Suction
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / etiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / etiology
  • Tracheal Diseases / etiology
  • Tracheal Diseases / surgery*
  • Tracheostomy / adverse effects*
  • Tracheostomy / statistics & numerical data