Comparative outcomes in intestinal atresia: a clinical outcome and pathophysiology analysis

Pediatr Surg Int. 2011 Apr;27(4):437-42. doi: 10.1007/s00383-010-2729-8. Epub 2010 Sep 4.


Objective: To describe the outcomes of 130 intestinal atresias between 1982 and 2007.

Methods: Records were analyzed for location, demographics, prenatal diagnosis, birth weight, associated anomalies, surgery, establishment of oral intake, re-interventions and mortality. Statistical analyses were performed using Fisher test and ANOVA.

Results: There were 59 duodenal (30 male), 63 jejuno-ileal (34 male) and 8 colonic atresias (3 male). Prenatal diagnosis was established in 27 (46%) duodenal (DA), 26 (41%) jejuno-ileal (JIA) and 1 (12.5%) colonic atresias (CA). The mean birth weights, 2,380.5 g (SD 988) DA, 2,814 g (SD 755) JIA and 3,153 g (SD 527) CA were significantly different (p = 0.011). The mean gestational ages were 36, 37 and 37 weeks in DA, JIA and CA, respectively (p-NS). Associated congenital anomalies were seen in 41 (76%) DA, 32 (52%) JIA and 3 (38%) CA (p = 0.08, NS). The median time to full oral feeds after surgery was 18 days in DA, 20 days in JIA and 15.6 days in CA, respectively (p > 0.05). Eight patients with DA and nine patients with JIA underwent repeat surgery for adhesive obstruction. Adhesive bowel obstruction was most common in the first year after surgery in both groups (15/17). Gastroschisis was seen in six (10%) of JIA and three (35%) of CA. Two patients in the JIA group underwent bowel lengthening. Patients with gastroschisis and those with associated anomalies needed prolonged duration of TPN after JIA correction. There was no mortality in the duodenal atresia and colonic atresia groups. Six patients in the JIA group died, three of severe atresias coupled with multiple anomalies and three of cholestasis and sepsis.

Conclusion: Distal atresias are difficult to diagnose antenatally. Proximal atresias have a significantly lower birth weight than distal atresias. Associated anomaly screening is important in all atresias.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / epidemiology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Enteral Nutrition
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Atresia / diagnosis
  • Intestinal Atresia / mortality
  • Intestinal Atresia / physiopathology*
  • Intestinal Atresia / surgery*
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Prenatal Diagnosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome