Primary aortoesophageal fistula from aortic aneurysm: successful surgical treatment by use of omental pedicle graft

J Vasc Surg. 1990 Sep;12(3):269-77.


A 65-year-old woman sought treatment for sentinel upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Three years previously she had undergone graft replacement of her ascending aorta for aneurysm. In the interim she was followed for chronic dissection of her remaining aorta, and 6 months before this admission she had undergone graft replacement of a large abdominal aortic aneurysm. Arteriography and CT scanning of the thorax revealed an 8 cm aneurysm of the descending thoracic aorta. Operation was undertaken at which time an aortoesophageal fistula, as a result of erosion of the aneurysm into the esophagus, was identified. The descending thoracic aortic aneurysm was replaced with a Dacron tube graft, the esophageal defect was repaired primarily, and a viable pedicle flap of omentum was used to reinforce the esophageal repair and cover the aortic graft. Her postoperative recovery was free of infection but complicated by rapid expansion of the upper abdominal aorta at the visceral arterial level. Eight weeks after initial operation she underwent graft replacement of her remaining thoracoabdominal aorta with direct reattachment of her celiac axis, superior mesenteric artery, and both renal arteries. Recovery after her second procedure was uneventful, and she continues to do well at 13 months after operation. Development of a primary aortoesophageal fistula caused by aneurysms of the aorta is a rare but lethal complication. We present a technique for treatment of primary aortoesophageal fistula using omentum and preservation of gastrointestinal continuity as a one-stage operation. It is possible in selected cases to manage the esophageal perforation with primary closure and omental coverage to achieve healing free of infection without temporary or permanent discontinuity of the gastrointestinal tract.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aorta, Thoracic
  • Aortic Aneurysm / complications*
  • Aortic Diseases / etiology*
  • Aortic Diseases / surgery
  • Blood Vessel Prosthesis
  • Esophageal Fistula / etiology*
  • Esophageal Fistula / surgery
  • Female
  • Fistula / etiology*
  • Fistula / surgery
  • Humans
  • Omentum / surgery*
  • Polyethylene Terephthalates
  • Surgical Flaps


  • Polyethylene Terephthalates