Esophageal atresia with distal tracheoesophageal fistula: associated anomalies and prognosis in the 1980s

J Pediatr Surg. 1989 Oct;24(10):1055-9. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3468(89)80214-3.


Ninety-seven newborns with esophageal atresia and distal tracheoesophageal fistula (EA-TEF) were treated between 1979 and 1985 inclusive; there were 54 boys and 43 girls. Their weights ranged from 800 to 4,000 g (average, 2.5 kg). They included: 28 neonates with cardiac defects (most common: patent ductus arteriosus [PDA], ventricular septal defect and atrial septal defect [VSD-ASD]), of whom 18 survived (64%); 17 babies with other gastrointestinal anomalies (imperforate anus, duodenal atresia), of whom 12 survived (70%); 12 patients with skeletal malformations (digital, vertebral), of whom 11 survived (91%); 8 newborns with genitourinary abnormalities (hypospadias, undescended testis), of whom 6 survived (75%); and 16 infants with other congenital lesions (trisomy 18, lung agenesis-hypoplasia), of whom 3 survived (18%). Forty-six infants (average, 2.7 kg) had no other anomalies and all survived. As the number of systems with defects increased, both the weight of the baby and survival rate decreased. From this entire series of 97 newborns with EA-TEF, 81 (83%) survived (average, 2.3 kg). Sixteen babies died (average, 1.9 kg); 11 had defects incompatible with life. Eleven of the 16 were never operated on (seven patients with trisomy died within 5 days, and four patients with complex cardiac defects died within 3 weeks). Four of the 16 who were operated on died between 3 months and 2 years from chest problems and one newborn died in the operating room. We concluded that (1) newborns who have the common type of EA-TEF will almost certainly survive if there are no other anomalies; (2) the most frequently associated congenital defects are cardiovascular (28%), gastrointestinal (17%), skeletal (12%), and genitourinary (8%); (3) as the number of systems with defects increases, the weight of the baby and its survival rate fall; and (4) 11% will have trisomy and/or complex cardiac defects with no survival.

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / mortality
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / surgery*
  • Esophageal Atresia / mortality
  • Esophageal Atresia / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Tracheoesophageal Fistula / mortality
  • Tracheoesophageal Fistula / surgery*