Pediatric Surgery International

, Volume 20, Issue 10, pp 768–772 | Cite as

Oesophageal atresia: what has changed in the last 3 decades?

  • Martin TönzEmail author
  • Sandra Köhli
  • Georges Kaiser
Original Article


The aim of the study was to analyse the outcomes of children born with oesophageal atresia over the last 3 decades. The records of 104 patients born between 1973 and 1999 were reviewed retrospectively. To evaluate changes over time, the analysis was done for three consecutive time periods: 1973–79, 1980–89, and 1990–99. Mean birth weight was 2553 g (SD 640), and mean gestational age was 39 weeks (SD 4). Forty-two newborns (40%) had one or more associated congenital malformations, and 30% had associated cardiac malformations. There was no change in incidence of associated anomalies over the three time periods studied. Mortality of patients decreased from 33% to 14% ( p =0.048). There was a significant association between the presence of a major cardiac malformation and survival (survival: 88% vs. 57%, p =0.004). Analysing the three different time periods separately reveals that cardiac disease was not a significant risk factor in the first period but became significant in the period from 1980–99 (relative risk: 6.76, 95% CI 1.44–31.77). Birth weight was significantly higher in infants who survived (2626 g, SD 642) compared with those who died (2290, SD 570, p =0.028). This effect, however, is mainly based on the difference during the first period and is lost later. Early and late postoperative complications occurred in 44/102 patients. Strictures developed in 33/91 patients who survived the first month of life (33%). The rate of symptomatic strictures decreased significantly over the three time periods, from 50% to 23% ( p =0.022). In summary, this study shows no significant change in patient characteristics over the last 3 decades, but mortality and postoperative complication rates decreased, and associated cardiac anomalies became the far most important risk factor for mortality.


Oesophageal atresia Outcome 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Paediatric SurgeryUniversity Children’s HospitalBernSwitzerland

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