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, 2 (2), 73-7

Feeding Troubles Following Delayed Primary Repair of Esophageal Atresia


Feeding Troubles Following Delayed Primary Repair of Esophageal Atresia

S Cavallaro et al. Eur J Pediatr Surg.


Severe feeding troubles were recorded in five babies with long-gap esophageal atresia who underwent, between 1985 and 1990, a delayed primary anastomosis after spontaneous growth of their esophageal stumps. A comparison with 20 cases of direct esophageal anastomosis, operated on in the same period, was carried out by means of recorded esophagrams, pH monitoring and questionnaires charting the growth pattern and feeding habits of the patients. Bottle feeding, and, later on, the introduction of semi-solid foods was significantly retarded in the group of children with delayed primary anastomosis (labeled as group B) as well as height and weight parameters. Failure to complete feeds, dysphagia, vomiting, coughing, choking and recurrent respiratory symptoms were also significantly more common in this group than in the primary anastomosis group (labeled as group A) even in the absence of stricture. Variable degrees of disordered esophageal motility were present in all patients but pooling of the contrast medium, retrograde flow and delayed clearing of the esophagus were more frequent in group B. No patient was shown to have associated hiatal hernia. A 24 hour pH recording showed severe gastroesophageal reflux in 4 out of 13 cases of group A and in 3 out of 5 cases of group B. Clearing times were significantly delayed in all refluxing children. Our data suggest that the retarded start of oral feeding and swallowing coordination in patients with delayed primary anastomosis add further negative factors to their congenitally impaired esophageal motility, causing protracted dysphagia which represents a major problem for both family and hospital staff.

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