Volume 36, Issue 4 (July 1991)
Radiographic Demonstration of Esophageal and Tracheal Fistulas at Autopsy Using a Contrasting Medium That Vulcanizes at Room Temperature
Esophageal and tracheal fistulas, which occur in 0.05% of medicolegal autopsies, were demonstrated in three cases by a postmortem radiographic technique using silicone rubber/lead oxide as a contrasting medium that vulcanizes at room temperature. In one 83-year-old male, a tracheoesophageal fistula was detected, which had developed after surgical repair of an esophageal rupture caused by a flexible fiberoptic endoscope. In a second case, carcinoma of the esophagus in a 78-year-old male had eroded the trachea and arcus of the aorta creating a fatal tracheoesophagoaortic fistula. In a third case, 55-year-old female developed a tracheobrachiocephalic artery fistula as a result of an infiltrating cystic adenocarcinoma of the trachea, resulting in a fatal hemorrhage into the trachea.
The results of this study indicate that diagnostic radiologic methods using a vulcanized contrasting medium are useful in supplementing normal dissection in autopsy cases with suspected fistulas of the esophagus or trachea.