A patient led, international study of long term outcomes of esophageal atresia: EAT 1.

27 June 2017



Long term outcomes of esophageal atresia (OA) are poorly understood. The Federation of Esophageal Atresia and Tracheo-Esophageal Fistula support groups (EAT), a collaboration of patient support groups aimed to define patient reported long term outcomes and quality of life (QoL) in a large international cohort of OA patients.


Questionnaires were designed focusing on patient/parent reported outcomes including surgical history, current symptomatology and quality of life. Members of support groups within EAT were invited to complete questionnaires electronically via SurveyMonkey®.


1100 patients from 25 countries responded to the questionnaire and 928 were analyzed. 80% had type C anatomy, 19% type A and 1% type E. Patient ages were <5 years (42%), 5-10 years (26%), 11-17 years (16%) and 18 years and older (16%). 49% of all patients reported previous dilatations which was similar across age groups. Reflux symptoms affected 58% of patients and persisted into adulthood. Dysphagia also persisted in the adult population with 50% reporting sometimes or often getting food stuck. Reflux was significantly more frequent in ‘long gap’ versus ‘standard gap’ patients (p<0.005). Respiratory symptoms and chest infections decreased in frequency with age. In children median SDS for height was -0.41 (IQR -1.4 to 0.67) and that for weight was -0.63 (-1.6 to 0.67). BMI in adults was 21.5. Quality of life was described as significantly affected by OA in 18% of patients while 25% reported no effect on QoL.


These results highlight the significant long term morbidity suffered by OA patients as children and into adulthood and suggest the need for quality transitional care. The patient designed and reported nature of the study gives a unique perspective to the results and emphasizes the benefits of collaboration.

J Pediatr Surg. 2017 Jun 9. pii: S0022-3468(17)30352-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2017.05.033. [Epub ahead of print]

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