Trachea-Thoracic Vertebral Body Fistula Causing Spinal Cord Injury: A Case Report

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Study Design.A case report and review of the literature.Objective.To discuss the significance of identifying trachea-thoracic vertebral body fistula.Summary of Background Data.Several authors have reported the occurrence of communication between the trachea and the spinal canal or paraspinal abscess. However, trachea-thoracic vertebral body fistulas have not been reported.Methods.A 77-year-old male experienced gradually worsening lower-extremity palsy. Fifteen years before presentation, he had undergone retrosternal esophageal reconstruction with a gastric tube for esophageal cancer.Results.Computed tomographic scan revealed compression of the Th5 vertebral body; the trachea and the Th5 vertebral body were connected by a fistula, and air seemed to enter Th5 from the trachea. Magnetic resonance image showed severe spinal canal stenosis. Posterior thoracic decompression and fusion was performed. Five months after the procedure, he regained the ability to walk with a cane, and computed tomographic scan revealed closure of the fistula and the bony fusion.Conclusion.To our knowledge, this is the first case report of a trachea-thoracic vertebral body fistula. Because the trachea is adjacent to the anterior aspect of the thoracic vertebrae, in cases of retrosternal esophageal reconstruction, trachea-vertebral body fistula should be a differential diagnosis for destructive changes in thoracic vertebrae without any signs of trauma.Level of Evidence: N/A

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