Esophageal atresia: five year experience with 148 cases

J Pediatr Surg. 1987 Feb;22(2):103-8. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3468(87)80420-7.


One hundred forty-eight infants with abnormalities of the esophagus treated over a 5-year period were reviewed: 87% comprised esophageal atresia with distal tracheoesophageal fistula. The survival rate for infants in risk group A was 100%, for risk group B, 86%, and for risk group C, 73%. There were six infants with associated anomalies incompatible with survival. Anastomotic leaks occurred in 21% of cases, strictures in 18% and recurrent tracheoesophageal fistula in 12%. The use of braided silk for the repair was associated with a high complication rate. There was a distinct advantage in delaying surgery pending improvement in aspiration pneumonia. Low birth weight was not considered a contraindication for primary repair. Emergency ligation of the fistula was considered a more appropriate procedure than gastrostomy for the infant with associated severe respiratory distress syndrome in whom mechanical ventilation was providing difficult. Congenital cardiac anomalies were the single most common cause of mortality and correction of these anomalies should be pursued aggressively. There were definite advantages of preoperative endoscopy, particularly in identifying proximal fistulae. Elective postoperative ventilatory support for infants with a very tense anastomosis was successful in preventing leaks in five infants. There were no advantages to routine gastrostomy. Severe gastroesophageal reflux and tracheomalacia demand aggressive management. Mortality was directly related to the severity of associated congenital anomalies.

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple
  • Birth Weight
  • Esophageal Atresia / complications
  • Esophageal Atresia / mortality
  • Esophageal Atresia / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Tracheoesophageal Fistula / complications
  • Tracheoesophageal Fistula / mortality
  • Tracheoesophageal Fistula / surgery