Thoracoscopic aortopexy for symptomatic tracheobronchomalacia

J Pediatr Surg. 2020 Feb;55(2):229-233. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2019.10.034. Epub 2019 Nov 5.


Aim: Symptomatic tracheobronchomalacia can be fatal. Successful treatment includes aortopexy. We report outcomes of the thoracoscopic approach in a single centre.

Methods: All patients undergoing thoracoscopic aortopexies from 2009 to 2018 were retrospectively reviewed. Data was reported as median (interquartile range). Risk factors for subsequent tracheostomy were analyzed with logistics regression model, p < 0.05 as significant.

Results: Twenty-one patients with mid to distal tracheomalacia (n = 17) and bronchial involvement (n = 4) were determined on bronchoscopy, tracheobronchogram, or CT thorax. Preoperative patient demographics and comorbidities, e.g., gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, prematurity, and cardiac anomalies were recorded. Indications for thoracoscopic aortopexy were apparent life-threatening event(s) (n = 14), recurrent chest infections (n = 5), and failure to wean invasive ventilation (n = 2). Thoracoscopic aortopexies (n = 20) with conversion to open (n = 1) were performed. Intraoperative bleeding (n = 2) occurred, and chest tube (n = 1) was inserted for monitoring. Intraoperative bronchoscopy (n = 17) confirmed improvement of tracheomalacia. Anesthetic time was 140 (90-160) minutes. Postoperatively, 2 patients had dehiscence of the aorta from the sternum. They underwent redo open aortopexy with posterior tracheopexy, and 1 required subsequent tracheostomy. Another 2 patients required tracheostomies. Potential risk factors for subsequent tracheostomy were investigated, and only the association of tracheobronchomalacia was close to significance (OR 16 (95% CI 0.95-267.03), p = 0.05). Follow up duration was 365 (72-854) days. Symptoms resolution occurred in n = 17 (81%) of patients.

Conclusion: Different modalities were used to delineate the site of tracheobronchomalacia and its etiology. Tracheomalacia with bronchial involvement may be a risk factor for subsequent tracheostomy.

Level of evidence: Level 3 (Case Series).

Keywords: Aortopexy; Bronchoscopy; Oesophageal atresia; Thoracoscopic; Tracheobronchogram; Tracheobronchomalacia; Tracheostomy.

MeSH terms

  • Aorta / surgery*
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Conversion to Open Surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thoracoscopy* / adverse effects
  • Thoracoscopy* / methods
  • Tracheobronchomalacia / surgery*
  • Tracheostomy