What is the pathophysiology of acquired malignant tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF)?

Updated: Nov 07, 2018
  • Author: Sat Sharma, MD, FRCPC; Chief Editor: Vinay Kumar Kapoor, MBBS, MS, FRCS, FAMS  more...
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This devastating complication results in contamination of the respiratory tract, leading to pulmonary infections and death from sepsis within a few weeks of development. Although the most common tumor site is the esophagus, tumors at other sites, including the lungs, trachea, and metastatic lymph nodes in the larynx, may also result in TEFs. The anatomic site of a TEF is the trachea in more than 50% of cases; approximately 40% occur in the left and right mainstem bronchi, and a smaller number (6%) occur in lung parenchyma. Despite aggressive management, the prognosis is generally poor in these patients.

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