Short-term neurodevelopmental outcome of babies operated on for low-risk esophageal atresia: a pilot study

Dis Esophagus. 2014 May-Jun;27(4):330-4. doi: 10.1111/dote.12114. Epub 2013 Aug 27.


Data on the neurodevelopmental outcome of esophageal atresia (EA) survivors are scarce, controversial, and based on small samples. This is an observational prospective longitudinal study on a selected cohort of low-risk EA survivors. We considered a low-risk EA survivor a patient with the following characteristics: gestational age >32 weeks, no long gap, no genetic or chromosomic anomaly associated with neurodevelopmental delay, and no further major surgical congenital anomalies. Infants were evaluated with scales derived from the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development - 3rd Edition at 6 and 12 months, with a score of 100 considered normal for each scale. Analysis of variance was used to assess differences of cognitive and motor development. Linear regression was used to assess the impact of the following clinical and sociodemographic variables: gender, birthweight, gestational age, length of hospital stay, number of surgeries and number of esophageal dilatations during first hospitalization, days of mechanical ventilation, weight at follow up, number of surgeries and esophageal dilatations at follow up, parental age, educational level, and socioeconomic status. Thirty children form the object of the study. The mean (standard deviation [SD]) cognitive scale's score was 93.7 (7.5) and 98.2 (9.6) at 6 and 12 months, respectively (P < 0.05). The mean (SD) motor scale's score was 97.6 (9.3) and 98.0 (12.1) at 6 and 12 months, respectively (P = n.s.). Children with a body weight <5° percentile at 12 months showed a mean (SD) cognitive score significantly lower when compared with those with a body weight >5° percentile: 88.8 (6.3) and 100.5 (8.9), respectively. At 12 months, children with unemployed mothers had a mean (SD) motor score significantly lower when compared with those in the other socioeconomic classes: 87.7 (9.8) and 100.6 (12.4), respectively. In conclusion, parents of babies operated on for low-risk EA can be reassured about neurodevelopmental outcome at least up to 1 year of age. When offering a multidisciplinary follow-up program, underweight patients should deserve particular attention to promote their quality of life and support their global development.

Keywords: esophageal atresia; follow up; neurodevelopmental outcome.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Child Development*
  • Cognition*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Esophageal Atresia / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Linear Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Motor Skills*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Thinness