BACKGROUND: Children born with esophageal atresia require an anastomosis between the proximal and distal esophagus. When this distance is too wide (long gap esophageal atresia, LGEA) esophageal replacement strategies have to be deployed. The aim of this study was to assess long-term respiratory morbidity and lung function after esophageal replacement with either stomach (gastric pull-up, GPU) or jejunum (jejunal interposition, JI) for LGEA.
METHODS: Retrospective cohort study. Patients operated with GPU and JI for LGEA (1985-2007) underwent a semi-structured interview and lung function testing (LFT).
RESULTS: Seven GPU-patients and eight JI-patients were included. Median age was 12years. One patient per group could not perform LFT. Respiratory symptoms were reported by 13/15 patients (7/7 GPU-patients vs 6/8 JI-patients). All LFT items were lower than reference values; 6/13 patients showed restriction and 6/13 obstruction. All six GPU-patients had abnormal TLC and/or FEV1/FVC vs 3/7 after JI. Restriction was noted in 4/6 GPU-patients vs 2/7 JI-patients.
CONCLUSION: After esophageal replacement for LGEA many children have impaired lung function and respiratory symptoms are common. Lung volumes seem decreased after GPU compared to JI. This may be caused by the intrathoracic stomach which may limit normal lung growth. Respiratory follow-up in adult life is important after esophageal replacement.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: III.