Objective: We assessed esophageal morbidity and relationships between surgical complications, symptoms, endoscopic findings, immunohistochemistry, and esophageal motility in adults with repaired esophageal atresia (EA).
Summary of background data: There exist no previous population-based long-term follow-up studies on EA.
Methods: Participants were interviewed, and they underwent esophageal endoscopy and manometry. Matched control subjects (n = 287) served as controls.
Results: A total of 101 (42%) individuals representative of the entire study population participated at a mean age of 36 years (range, 21-57). Symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux had occurred in 34% and dysphagia in 85% of the patients and in 8% and 2% of the controls (P < 0.001 for both). Endoscopic findings included hiatal hernia (28%), Barrett's esophagus (11%), esophagitis (8%), and anastomotic stricture (8%). Immunohistochemistry revealed esophagitis in 25%, and CDX2-positive columnar epithelial metaplasia in 21%, with additional goblet cells and MUC2 positivity in 6%. Gastroesophageal reflux and dysphagia were equally common in individuals with normal histology, esophagitis, or epithelial metaplasia. Manometry demonstrated nonpropagating peristalsis in 80% of the patients, and low distal wave amplitudes of the esophagus in all the changes being significantly worse in those with epithelial metaplasia (P < or = 0.022 metaplasia vs. esophagitis/normal). Anastomotic complications (odds ratio [OR]: 8.6-24, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.7-260, P = 0.011-0.008), age (OR: 20, 95% CI: 1.3-310, P = 0.034), low distal esophageal body pressure (OR: 2.6, 95% CI: 0.7-10, P = 0.002), and defective esophageal peristalsis (OR: 2.2, 95% CI: 0.4-11, P = 0.014) predicted development of epithelial metaplasia.
Conclusions: Significant esophageal morbidity associated with EA extends into adulthood. Surgical complications, increasing age, and impaired esophageal motility predict development of epithelial metaplasia after repair of EA.