Atrioesophageal Fistula: Considerations for the neurological clinician

Laura A. Zima, Linden E. Fornoff, Daniel L. Surdell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Atrioesophageal fistula (AEF) is a rare complication of cardiac ablation for atrial fibrillation. It can present in many ways, but neurological signs and symptoms are common initial signs sometimes resulting in neurosurgeons and neurologists first evaluating patients with the condition. We present a case report of at 68-year-old female who presented with acute stroke symptoms and multifocal hemorrhages on MRI who was worked up through our neurosurgery department and diagnosed with AEF. This case highlights three clues to alert neurological clinicians to AEF as a possible diagnosis; clinical worsening of neurological symptoms in correlation to episodes of emesis, septic emboli on CT/MRI, and bacteremia caused by a gram positive oral or GI flora. If neurological clinicians encounter these red flags, an immediate CT of the chest and abdomen and consultation with cardiothoracic surgery may be life-saving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-60
Number of pages3
JournalClinical Neurology and Neurosurgery
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • Atrioesophageal Fistula
  • Septic emboli
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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