1999 Volume 60 Issue 10 Pages 2662-2666
Aortoduodenal fistula is a rare and life-threatening cause of gastrointestinal hemorrhage. The patient was a 44-year-old woman who repeated intermittent hematemesis and melena after hysterectomy, para-aortic lymph node dissection, and subsequent radiotherapy. Angiography revealed no bleeding point. Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy showed an ulcer at the third portion of the duodenum. Emergency laparotomy revealed an aortoduodenal fistula which was inferred to be caused by radiotherapy because no recurrence of malignancy was detected. After the fistula was closed, the patient repeated hematemesis and anal bleeding. She died of acute hemorrhagic shock, in spite of three operations including axillo-femoral bypass. We propose that radiation might have played a role in the pathogenesis of the aortoduodenal fistula in our case. The new case of primary aortoduodenal fistula following radiotherapy is added to four cases previously reported in the literature. Six cases in which the lesion of the duodenum could be demonstrated by endoscopy, have been reported in Japan. Aortoduodenal fistula should be considered as a probable diagnosis in patients presenting massive gastrointestinal hemorrhage after radiotherapy. Rapid surgical treatments are needed, and operative procedures to be considered include resection of the aorta with aortic stump closure and axillo-femoral bypass.