Oesophageal atresia: The growth gap. / World J Gastroenterol / 2020 Mar

6 May 2020

2020 Mar 28;26(12):1262-1272. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v26.i12.1262.

Traini I1Menzies J2Hughes J3Leach ST1Krishnan U1.


Poor growth is an under-recognised yet significant long-term sequelae of oesophageal atresia (OA) repair. Few studies have specifically explored the reasons for growth impairment in this complex cohort. The association between poor growth with younger age and fundoplication appears to have the strongest supportive evidence, highlighting the need for early involvement of a dietitian and speech pathologist, and consideration of optimal medical reflux management prior to referring for anti-reflux surgery. However, it remains difficult to reach conclusions regarding other factors which may negatively influence growth, due to conflicting findings, inconsistent definitions and lack of validated tool utilisation. While swallowing and feeding difficulties are particularly frequent in younger children, their relationship with growth remains unclear. It is possible that these morbidities impact on the diet of children with OA, but detailed analysis of dietary composition and quality, and its relationship with these complications and growth, has not yet been conducted. Another potential area of research in OA is the role of the microbiota in growth and nutrition. While the microbiota has been linked to growth impairment in other paediatric conditions, it is yet to be investigated in OA. Further research is needed to identify the most important contributory factors to poor growth, the role of the intestinal microbiota, and effective interventions to maximise growth and nutritional outcomes in this cohort.


Dysphagia; Feeding difficulty; Growth; Malnutrition; Microbiota; Oesophageal atresia

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