Anastomotic dilatation after repair of esophageal atresia with distal fistula. Comparison of results after routine versus selective dilatation

Dis Esophagus. 2009;22(2):190-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-2050.2008.00902.x. Epub 2008 Dec 22.


After repair of esophageal atresia with distal fistula (EADF), anastomotic dilatations are often required. We abandoned routine dilatations (RD), in 2002, for selective dilatations (SD) only when the symptoms arose. We compared the number of dilatations and long-term results after RD and SD. Eighty-one successive EADF patients from 1989 to 2007 (RD 46, SD 35), with primary anastomosis, native esophagus, and peroral feeding, were included. Spitz classification, birth weight, gestational age, incidence of gastroesphageal reflux, tracheomalacia, and postoperative complications did not differ statistically significantly between the groups whereas the total incidence of associated anomalies in RD group was higher than in SD (P < 0.05) In RD group, anastomotic dilatations were begun 3 weeks postoperatively and repeated until the anastomotic diameter was 10 mm. In SD group, dilatations were performed only in symptomatic patients. The number of dilatations, dilatation-related complications, nutritional status, and outcome up to 3 years after repair were compared. The median number of dilatations was seven (2-23) in RD and two (0-16) in SD group (P < 0.01). Sixteen (46%) patients in SD group had no dilatations during the first 6 months. The incidence of dysphagia, bolus obstructions, and development of nutritional status were similar between the groups. The incidence of complications/dilatation was 0.6% in RD and 1.0% in SD group. One patient in RD group underwent resection for a recalcitrant anastomotic stricture. After repair, EADF policy of SD resulted in significantly less dilatations than RD with equal long-term results.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Anastomosis, Surgical
  • Catheterization* / methods
  • Esophageal Atresia / complications
  • Esophageal Atresia / surgery*
  • Esophageal Stenosis / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tracheoesophageal Fistula / complications
  • Treatment Outcome