The association between laryngeal cleft and tracheoesophageal fistula: Myth or reality?

Jose C. Fraga, Eelam A. Adil, Amy Kacprowicz, Margaret L. Skinner, Russell Jennings, Craig Lillehei, Reza Rahbar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: Laryngeal cleft (LC) associated with tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF) with or without esophageal atresia (EA) has rarely been described. The purpose of this study is to review our experience, clinical features, management, delay in diagnosis, and complications in children with these anomalies. Study Design: Retrospective chart review at pediatric tertiary referral center. Methods: Patients diagnosed with LC alone or LC and TEF over a 10-year period were included. Data including demographics, type of TEF and LC, comorbidities, symptoms, management, complications and swallowing outcomes were analyzed. Results: There were 161 pediatric patients diagnosed with LC alone and 22 with LC and TEF. In patients with LC and TEF, aspiration was the most common presenting symptom (n = 11, 50%). Seventeen patients (77%, mean age 4 years 7 months) underwent endoscopic repair and five patients (23%) with type I clefts did not require surgery. Two patients required revision surgery. For patients with LC alone, the mean age at repair was 3.70 years (4 months-19.9 years) compared to 4.69 years (8 months-17.83 years) for patients with LC and TEF (P = 0.0187). The postoperative swallowing studies from 15 patients showed no aspiration. Mean follow-up was 4 years and 6 months. Conclusion: The diagnosis and management of LC in patients with TEF is often delayed. If a child presents with persistent aspiration after TEF repair, a complete airway endoscopy should be performed to evaluate for vocal fold mobility and cleft. Endoscopic repair is the recommended approach for those patients requiring surgical intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-474
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Esophageal atresia
  • Laryngeal cleft
  • Larynx
  • Trachea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


Dive into the research topics of 'The association between laryngeal cleft and tracheoesophageal fistula: Myth or reality?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this