Pediatric esophagopleural fistula: Two case reports and a literature review

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Esophagopleural fistula (EPF) is rarely reported in children with a high misdiagnosis rate. This study aimed to reveal the clinical manifestations and managements of EPF in children.

Two pediatric cases of EPF in our hospital were reported. A bibliographic search was performed on the PubMed, WANFANG, and CNKI databases for EPF-related reports published between January 1980 and May 2016. The pathogeny, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, treatments, and prognosis of EPF patients were collected and discussed.

Based on conservative treatments, 1 pediatric EPF case induced by cervical trauma was cured by longitudinal septum incision-mediated drainage. The other pediatric EPF induced by endoscopic balloon dilation was cured by dual stent implantation. A total of 38 studies of 197 EPF patients (191 adults and 6 children) were reviewed. Latrogenic factor, esophageal foreign body, and infection are considered the main causes of EPF in children. Unilateral pleural effusion accompanied by food residue was the main manifestations of EPF. Chest computed tomography (CT) and contrast esophagography were usually used in the diagnosis of EPF with high accuracy. Surgical treatment in adults with EPF exhibited a significantly higher cure rate and lower mortality rate than conservative treatment (P < .01).

Pleural effusion with food residue is a specific finding in EPF. Chest CT exhibited high sensitivity for the diagnosis of EPF. Conservative treatment may be preferable for pediatric patients with EPF.

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