Gastroesophageal reflux and related pathology in adults who were born with esophageal atresia: a long-term follow-up study

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007 Jun;5(6):702-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2007.03.012.


Background & aims: Esophageal atresia (EA) is the most common congenital anomaly of the esophagus. There are few long-term follow-up data on adults who had surgery for EA as infants. The primary aims were to evaluate the prevalence of esophageal symptoms and pathology and second to develop recommendations for follow-up.

Methods: This is a descriptive study of individuals attending a clinic in an adult tertiary referral hospital, established to provide care for adults who had surgery for EA as infants. Individuals aged 20 years or older were identified from an existing database and invited by telephone to attend the clinic. One hundred thirty-two patients attended the clinic from 2000-2003. Individuals were assessed by using a structured questionnaire. Endoscopy was performed in 62 patients because of symptoms.

Results: Reflux symptoms were reported by 83 (63%), including 25 (19%) with severe symptoms. Dysphagia was reported by 68 patients (52%). Of those who underwent endoscopy, reflux esophagitis was present in 36 patients (58%), Barrett's esophagus in 7 (11%), and strictures in 26 (42%) patients. One patient was diagnosed with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Men who were 35 years or older and individuals with severe reflux symptoms were at high risk of having severe esophagitis or Barrett's metaplasia.

Conclusions: Reflux symptoms, esophagitis, and Barrett's esophagus are common in these individuals. We recommend clinical assessment as adults and upper endoscopy for reflux symptoms or dysphagia. Transition of young adults from pediatric care to an adult gastroenterology clinic with expertise in EA appears to be highly beneficial.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Barrett Esophagus / epidemiology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / epidemiology
  • Deglutition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal
  • Esophageal Atresia / epidemiology*
  • Esophageal Atresia / surgery
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Esophageal Stenosis / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors