Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 63  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 597-599

Aorto-esophageal fistula – An autopsy series

Department of Pathology (Cardiovascular and Thoracic Division), Seth GS Medical College, Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Pradeep Vaideeswar
Department of Pathology (Cardiovascular and Thoracic Division), Seth GS Medical College, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPM.IJPM_26_20

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Background: Fistulous tracts within the thorax are best exemplified aorto-esophageal fistulas (AEFs), which are rare exsanguinations of the upper gastrointestinal tract. Most of them are diagnosed at autopsy. Aim: This is an autopsy-based study of fatal cases of AEFs gathered over a period of 20 years. Materials and Methods: Cases of AEFs were retrieved from the autopsy records of the cardiovascular pathology sub-specialty at a tertiary care center and were studied with reference to demographic details, modes of clinical presentation, and pathological features. Results: Ten cases of AEFs (10 males and 8 females, mean age of 46.9 years) were identified in a span of 20 years. A clinical diagnosis of AEF was made in only one patient, while the rest were identified at autopsy. All the patients had a bout of massive and fatal hematemesis. The fistulous connections, involving the middle-third of the esophagus, were caused by a fishbone, esophageal ulceration and aneurismal aortic diseases of varied etiology. Conclusions: AEFs are often missed or misdiagnosed. Early recognition of this rapidly fatal condition is essential as these fistulas require quick and aggressive management.

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