Tracheocutaneous fistulas may persist after tracheostomy. Suture closure of the fistula may result in complications, including infection, wound dehiscence, and pneumomediastinum. We present a simplified and relatively safe technique to close persistent fistulas that may be performed under local anesthesia. A retrospective chart review was performed on 13 patients who were successfully treated, including 1 with incomplete closure that was successfully addressed by additional procedures. Our review included analysis of reported risk factors for persistence of tracheocutaneous fistulas: previous irradiation of the neck, an extended duration of cannulation, previous tracheostomies, obesity, and use of a Bjork flap or 4-flap epithelial-lined tracheostomy. All 13 patients in the study were found to have at least 1 of these risk factors.
- Tracheocutaneous fistula