Although thoracoscopic surgery has become the routine surgical method for esophageal
atresia/tracheoesophageal fistula (EA/TEF), thoracoscopic treatment for recurrent
tracheoesophageal fistula (rTEF) is far from popularized.
We aimed to explore the safety and efficacy of thoracoscopic treatment for rTEF with
a large-cohort study.
We retrospectively analyzed the clinical characteristics and outcomes of 103 consecutive
patients who underwent thoracoscopic surgery for rTEF by one surgeon after EA/TEF
repair at two different institutions in China from 2014 to 2021.
One hundred and three pediatric patients (67 boys) were enrolled and the primary operations
were performed via thoracoscopic (n = 75, 72.82%) or open surgery (n = 28, 27.18%). The median age at rTEF diagnosis was 5 (3, 10) months after the primary
repair. Patients were diagnosed with recurrent fistula to the trachea (n = 97, 94.17%), bronchi (n = 4, 3.88%), and lung parenchyma (n = 2, 1.94%), and all of them underwent thoracoscopic surgery at a median age of 7
(5, 14) months with a median weight of 6200 (4870, 7650) g. After the repair of rTEF,
the incidence of esophageal leakage, esophageal stricture, and TEF recurrence were
12.8%, 33.4%, and 10.8%, respectively. After the follow-up, 87 patients survived,
6 died, and 10 were lost to follow-up.
The results of thoracoscopic surgery for rTEF were comparable with previously reported
thoracotomy surgery. Owing to the clear field during the operation, rapid patient
recovery and esthetic results, the thoracoscopic approach could be a better choice
for experienced pediatric surgeons.
Level of Evidence