Esophageal atresia is a major congenital foregut anomaly. Affected patients often suffer from respiratory and gastro-intestinal morbidity. The objective of this study is to identify possible neonatal predictive factors contributing to a long-term complicated clinical course in patients after repair of esophageal atresia.
A total of 93 patients born between 1993 and 2013, with esophageal atresia and surviving the neonatal period were included in this retrospective study. A complicated clinical course was defined as the occurrence of ≥1 of these complications: severe gastro-esophageal reflux, esophageal stricture requiring dilatations, need for tube feeding for >100 days, severe tracheomalacia, severe chronic respiratory disease and death. We used linear models with a binomial distribution to determine risk factors for gastro-intestinal or respiratory complicated evolution and a backward stepwise elimination procedure to reduce models until only significant variables remained in the model. Multinomial logistic regression was used to assess risk factors for different evolutions of complication. Model parameter estimates were used to calculate odds ratios for significant risk factors.
Fifty-seven patients (61%) had a complicated clinical course in the first year of life and 47 (51%) had a complicated evolution during years 1–6. In the first year, prematurity was a significant factor for complicated gastro-intestinal (OR 2.84) and respiratory evolution (OR 2.93). After 1 year, gastro-intestinal morbidity in childhood was associated with VACTERL association (OR 12.2) and a complicated first year (OR 36.1). Respiratory morbidity was associated with congenital heart disease (OR 12.9) and a complicated first year (OR 86.9). Multinomial logistic regression showed that prematurity (p = 0.018) and VACTERL association (p = 0.003) were significant factors of complications.
Prematurity is an important predictive factor for a complicated clinical course in early life. A complicated first year often predicts a complicated clinical course in childhood. These risk factors may be helpful in counseling of parents in the neonatal period.