(Received 20 September 1990; accepted 17 December 1990)
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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.
Research associate, University of Helsinki, Helsinki,
Senior lecturer, University of Helsinki, Helsinki,
Stock #: JFS13128J