Background: The estimated incidence of esophageal atresia (EA) with or without tracheo-esophageal fistula (TEF) is 1:3500 live births. During childhood these patients have various co-morbidities, but the overall quality of life among adults is similar to that of the general population.
Objectives: To evaluate short- and long-term co-morbidities and quality of life among infants born with EA ± TEF at a large single medical center.
Methods: Medical records of 65 children born over a 21 year period were reviewed for short- and long-term medical data. Telephone interviews were conducted with 46 of their parents regarding medical problems and quality of life after home discharge.
Results: The main long-term co-morbidities during the first 2 years of life, 4–6 years of age, and during adolescence (12–16 years) included gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) in 56.5%, 35.8%, and 18.7%, respectively; stridor in 84.8%, 45.2%, and 12.5%, respectively; hyper-reactive airway disease (HRAD) in 43.5%, 35.5%, and 36.5%, respectively; recurrent pneumonia in 43.5%, 32.3%, and 18.8%, respectively; and overall recurrent hospitalizations in 87%, 41.9%, and 25%, respectively. The quality of life was reportedly affected among 100%, 75%, and 33.3% respectively.
Conclusions: Long-term follow-up of patients with EA ± TEF indicates a high burden of co-morbidities during the first 6 years of life, with a gradual decrease in symptoms thereafter. Nevertheless, HRAD continued to impact the daily life of about one-third of the older adolescents, and GERD one-fifth. A long-term multidisciplinary follow-up should be conducted to prevent late onset complications that may affect the quality of life.