Background and objectives: Respiratory diseases are common in children with esophageal atresia (EA), leading to increased morbidity and mortality in the first year. The primary study objective was to identify the factors associated with readmissions for respiratory causes in the first year in EA children.
Methods: A population-based study. We included all children born between 2008 and 2016 with available data and analyzed factors at birth and 1 year follow-up. Factors with a P value <.10 in univariate analyses were retained in logistic regression models.
Results: Among 1460 patients born with EA, 97 (7%) were deceased before the age of 1 year, and follow-up data were available for 1287 patients, who constituted our study population. EAs were Ladd classification type III or IV in 89%, preterm birth was observed in 38%, and associated malformations were observed in 52%. Collectively, 61% were readmitted after initial discharge in the first year, 31% for a respiratory cause. Among these, respiratory infections occurred in 64%, and 35% received a respiratory treatment. In logistic regression models, factors associated with readmission for a respiratory cause were recurrence of tracheoesophageal fistula, aortopexy, antireflux surgery, and tube feeding; factors associated with respiratory treatment were male sex and laryngeal cleft.
Conclusions: Respiratory morbidity in the first year after EA repair is frequent, accounting for >50% of readmissions. Identifying high risk groups of EA patients (ie, those with chronic aspiration, anomalies of the respiratory tract, and need for tube feeding) may guide follow-up strategies.