DOI: 10.1177/15385744231198363 ISSN:

A Modern Series of Secondary Aortoenteric Fistula – A 19-Year Experience

Sabine Sieber, Albert Busch, Mine Sargut, Christoph Knappich, Bianca Bohmann, Angelos Karlas, Helmut Friess, Hans-Henning Eckstein, Alexander Novotny
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • General Medicine
  • Surgery


Secondary aortoenteric fistula is a rare and life-threatening condition. Clear evidence on the ideal therapeutic approach is largely missing. This study aims to analyze symptoms, etiology, risk factors, and outcomes based on procedural details.

Patients and Methods

All patients with secondary aortoenteric fistula admitted between 2003 and 2021 were included. Patient characteristics, surgical procedure details, and postoperative outcomes were analyzed. Outcomes were stratified and compared according to the urgency of operation and the procedure performed. Descriptive statistics were used. The primary endpoint was in-hospital mortality.


A total of twentytwo patients (68% male, median age 70 years) were identified. Main symptoms were gastrointestinal bleeding, pain, and fever. From the twentytwo patients ten patients required emergency surgery and ten urgent surgery. Emergency patients were older on average (74 vs 63 years, P = .015) and had a higher risk of postoperative respiratory complications (80% vs 10%, P = .005). Primary open surgery with direct replacement of the aorta or an extra-anatomic bypass with an additional direct suture or resection of the involved bowel was performed in sixteen patients. In four patients underwent endovascular bridging treatment with the definitive approach as a second step. Other two patients died without operation (1x refusal; 1x palliative cancer history). In-hospital mortality was 27%, respectively. Compared to patients undergoing urgent surgery, those treated emergently showed significantly higher in-hospital (50% vs 0%, P = .0033) mortalities.


Despite rapid diagnosis and treatment, secondary aortoenteric fistula remains a life-threatening condition with 27% in-hospital mortality, significantly increased upon emergency presentation.

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