Combined Transthoracic and Transtracheal Closure of Large Bronchopleural Fistulae

Eric M. Walser, Guillermo Gomez, Joseph B. Zwischenberger, Orhan Ozkan, Jason Pulnik, Chris Gouner, Sina Meisamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: Postoperative central bronchopleural fistulae (BPF) are difficult to close using percutaneous or endoscopic techniques. We devised an alternative method to treat BPF using a combined transthoracic and transtracheal approach with the use of a multifilamented polypropylene (Prolene) mesh patch. Methods: Two patients with large, central BPF after thoracic surgery and lobar resection had minimally invasive BPF closure using a transtracheal approach with catheterization of the fistula and thoracoscopically guided Prolene mesh placement over the bronchial stump defect. This technique was adopted after conservative management and multiple endobronchial interventions had failed in both patients. Results: One patient had closure of his BPF within one week and remains symptom-free one year after chest tube removal. The other patient had a BPF and chest tube for two years prior to our procedure. His BPF initially closed, but recannalized 2 weeks later. He subsequently had two thoracotomies and continues to suffer a BPF which remains externalized to his chest wall. Conclusions: Post-thoracotomy central BPF that is resistant to nonsurgical treatments can be closed with a combined thoracoscopic and transtracheal placement of a polypropylene patch. The success of this repair seems to depend on early intervention and aggressive sterilization of the pleural space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-101
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Laparoendoscopic and Advanced Surgical Techniques - Part A
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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