How is acquired tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF) diagnosed?

Updated: Nov 07, 2018
  • Author: Sat Sharma, MD, FRCPC; Chief Editor: Vinay Kumar Kapoor, MBBS, MS, FRCS, FAMS  more...
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Acquired TEFs can be diagnosed by instillation of contrast media into the esophagus or during direct visualization by flexible esophagoscopy or bronchoscopy. Either method can be useful, depending on the individual center's expertise and experience.

Some clinicians prefer to visualize the fistula and assess its exact location prior to surgery. The diagnosis of a TEF secondary to malignancy is confirmed by contrast radiography, esophagoscopy, bronchoscopy, and clinical testing (methylene blue).

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