Clinical Paper| Volume 53, ISSUE 2, P227-229, February 2018

Bronchoscopy as a screening tool for symptomatic tracheomalacia in oesophageal atresia

Published:December 04, 2017DOI:



      Oesophagealatresia/tracheo-oesophageal fistula (OA-TOF) is associated with tracheomalacia (TM). In our institution it is routine for OA-TOF patients to undergo dynamic flexible bronchoscopy (DFB) assessing both the site of the fistula and the presence or absence of TM. We aimed to determine the value of this investigation as a screening tool to predict subsequent symptomatic tracheomalacia in these patients.


      All patients with OA-TOF who underwent DFB at the time of initial repair between June 2014 and November 2016 were included prospectively. The findings at DFB were recorded. Patients were grouped according to the presence or absence of TM and followed to determine which of them developed symptomatic airway problems. The sensitivity and specificity of TM at initial bronchoscopy as a screening tool for subsequent symptomatic TM were calculated. The study was given ethical approval by our institution.

      Main results

      Twenty-three patients were included in the study. Median follow-up was for 7 (1–27) months. Fifteen (65%) were found to have TM at their first DFB; 13 (57%) subsequently developed airway symptoms, and of these 11 had TM at initial DFB. One patient with severe TM (>90% tracheal collapse) at initial DFB was completely asymptomatic following OA-TOF repair. The sensitivity was 85%, and specificity was 60%. The positive and negative predictive values were 73% and 75%, respectively.


      DFB is a useful tool in many aspects of the management of OA/TOF. However, it is not a good screening tool to predict symptomatic tracheomalacia with moderate sensitivity and a low specificity.

      Level of evidence

      Level IIb, Retrospective cohort study.

      Key words

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