The Potential Benefits of Applying Recent Advances in Esophageal Motility Testing in Patients with Esophageal Atresia

21 June 2017

A Very Interesting Read

Infants and children with esophageal atresia commonly present with swallowing dysfunction or dysphagia. Dysphagia can lead to a range of significant consequences such as aspiration pneumonia, malnutrition, dehydration, and food impaction. To improve oral intake, the clinical diagnosis of dysphagia in patients with esophageal atresia should focus on both the pharynx and the esophagus. To characterise the complex interactions of bolus flow and motor function between mouth, pharynx, and esophagus, a detailed understanding of normal and abnormal deglutition is required through the use of adequate and objective assessment techniques. As clinical symptoms do not correlate well with conventional assessment methods of motor function such as radiology or manometry but do correlate with bolus flow, the current state-of-the-art diagnosis involves high-resolution manometry combined with impedance measurements to characterise the interplay between esophageal motor function and bolus clearance. Using a novel pressure flow analysis (PFA) method as an integrated analysis method of manometric and impedance measurements, differentiation of patients with impaired esophago-gastric junction relaxation from patients with bolus outflow disorders is clinically relevant.


Esophageal Atresia With or Without Tracheoesophageal Fistula

Updated: May 12, 2017

A fetus with oesophagal atresia cannot effectively swallow amniotic fluid, especially when TEF is absent. In a fetus with oesophagal atresia and a distal TEF, some amniotic fluid presumably flows through the trachea and down the fistula to the gut. Polyhydramnios may be the result of this change in the recycling of amniotic fluid through the fetus. Polyhydramnios, in turn, may lead to premature labour. The fetus also appears to derive some nutritional benefit from the ingestion of amniotic fluid; thus, fetuses with oesophagal atresia may be small for their gestational age.

The neonate with oesophagal atresia cannot swallow and drools copious amounts of saliva. Aspiration of saliva or milk, if the baby is allowed to suckle, can lead to an aspiration pneumonitis. In a baby with oesophagal atresia and a distal TEF, the lungs may be exposed to gastric secretions. Also, air from the trachea can pass down the distal fistula when the baby cries, strains, or receives ventilation. This condition can lead to an acute gastric perforation, which is often lethal.


Feeding Problems and Their Underlying Mechanisms in the Esophageal Atresia– Tracheoesophageal Fistula Patient

31 May 2017

Esophageal dysmotility is almost universal after esophageal atresia (EA) repair and is mainly related to the developmental anomaly of the esophagus. Esophageal dysmotility is involved in the pathophysiology of numerous symptoms and comorbidities associated with EA such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, aspiration and respiratory complications, and symptoms of dysphagia and feeding disorders. High-resolution esophageal manometry (HREM) has facilitated the characterization of the dysmotility, but there is an incomplete correlation between symptoms and manometrical patterns. Impedance coupled to HREM should help to predict the clinical outcome and therefore personalise patient management. Nowadays, the management of esophageal dysmotility in patients with EA is essentially based on treatment of associated inflammation related to peptic or eosinophilic esophagitis.

Following esophageal atresia (EA) repair, motility disorders of the esophagus are almost universal and may lead to gastroesophageal reflux (GER), aspiration, feeding disorders, and dysphagia in the first few months and years of life. Later on, chronic acid exposure of the esophageal mucosa due to abnormal esophageal motility can lead to Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal carcinoma, which are , concern. In this review, we will focus on the definition, pathophysiology, and treatment of esophageal dysmotility in patients operated for EA.

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Challenging surgical dogma in the management of proximal esophageal atresia with distal tracheoesophageal fistula: Outcomes from the Midwest Pediatric Surgery Consortium.

June 1st, 2017



Perioperative management of infants with esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula (EA/TEF) is frequently based on surgeon experience and dogma rather than evidence-based guidelines. This study examines whether commonly perceived important aspects of practice affect outcome in a contemporary multi-institutional cohort of patients undergoing primary repair for the most common type of esophageal atresia anomaly, proximal EA with distal TEF.


The Midwest Pediatric Surgery Consortium conducted a multicenter, retrospective study examining selected outcomes on infants diagnosed with proximal EA with distal TEF who underwent primary repair over a 5-year period (2009-2014), with a minimum 1-year follow-up, across 11 centers.


292 patients with proximal EA and distal TEF who underwent primary repair were reviewed. The overall mortality was 6% and was significantly associated with the presence of congenital heart disease (OR 4.82, p=0.005). Postoperative complications occurred in 181 (62%) infants, including: anastomotic stricture requiring intervention (n=127; 43%); anastomotic leak (n=54; 18%); recurrent fistula (n=15; 5%); vocal cord paralysis/paresis (n=14; 5%); and esophageal dehiscence (n=5; 2%). Placement of a trans-anastomotic tube was associated with an increase in esophageal stricture formation (OR 2.2, p=0.01). Acid suppression was not associated with altered rates of stricture, leak or pneumonia (all p>0.1). Placement of interposing prosthetic material between the esophageal and tracheal suture lines was associated with an increased leak rate (OR 4.7, p<0.001), but no difference in the incidence of recurrent fistula (p=0.3). Empiric postoperative antibiotics for >24h were used in 193 patients (66%) with no difference in rates of infection, shock or death when compared to antibiotic use ≤24h (all p>0.3). Hospital volume was not associated with postoperative complication rates (p>0.08). Routine postoperative esophagogram obtained on day 5 resulted in no delayed/missed anastomotic leaks or a difference in anastomotic leak rate as compared to esophagograms obtained on day 7.

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Helicobacter pylori and Barrettes esophagus: a protective factor or a real cause?

March 31st, 2017


Not-with-standing the definite aetiopathogenetic path of certain diseases, the relationship between Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and Barrette’s esophagus (BE), a condition that increases the risk for dysplasia and consequently adenocarcinoma of the distal esophagus and esophagogastric junction, remains uncertain. This paper reviews the current scientific literature with emphasis on the protective correlation between H. pylori infection and BE and demonstrates that a causal relationship has not been disproved with certainty. Furthermore, H. pylori infection could pose a risk for the onset of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which could in turn trigger BE, a precancerous lesion, and subsequently, cause cancer. By analyzing the current available data, this article tries to verify that H. pylori infection is the underlying cause of esophageal cancer.

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