[Chronic aspiration secondary to a Staffieri fistula: successful therapy with Provox voice prosthesis].

Research paper by M M Bremke, J A JA Werner, G G Lichtenberger, B J BJ Folz

Indexed on: 10 May '07Published on: 10 May '07Published in: Laryngo- rhino- otologie


The Staffieri technique is a method for surgical rehabilitation of the voice after laryngectomy. A fistula between trachea and esophagus is created to achieve a so-called "Neoglottis phonatoria". The assignment of the neoglottis is to protect the airways during ingestion and to give the patient a chance to phonate during expiration.The case of a 71-year-old man with aspiration via his Staffieri fistula is presented. The fistula was created in 1979 after laryngectomy because of a laryngeal carcinoma. He also suffered from a metastasized gastric carcinoma which was cured by a 2/3 resection of the stomach in 1970. He is free of recurrence with regard to his oncologic diseases. Until 2003 the patient had no problems with the fistula and was able to phonate well. In 2003 the patient had progressive aspiration via the fistula and the Staffieri fistula was therefore reduced in diameter by surgery. In 2005 the patient presented himself again because of a recurrence of the aspiration. Endoscopy of the upper aerodigestive tract showed healthy mucosa, contrast imaging of the esophagus showed a significant aspiration of the contrast medium into the trachea. Due to these findings a voice prosthesis was inserted into the fistula. This therapy cured the patient from aspiration. He is able to phonate well and has no further complaints.Aspiration via a Staffieri fistula is described in about 25 % of cases and therapy is sometimes difficult. Surgical narrowing of the diameter of the fistula is inadequate in most cases and many patients would lose their restored voice if the fistula was closed permanently. Through the insertion of a voice prosthesis aspiration could be stopped and voice was immediately restored.