Eur J Pediatr Surg 2020; 30(03): 239-250
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1710389
Review Article
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Health-Related Quality of Life in Patients after Repair of Esophageal Atresia: A Review of Current Literature

Michaela Dellenmark-Blom
1   Department of Pediatric Surgery, Queen Silvia Children's Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden
2   Department of Pediatrics, University of Gothenburg Institute of Clinical Sciences, Goteborg, Sweden
Julia Quitmann
3   Department of Medical Psychology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
Carmen Dingemann
4   Hannover Medical School, Department of Pediatric, Hannover, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Funding None.
Further Information

Publication History

05 April 2020

07 April 2020

Publication Date:
29 May 2020 (online)


Patients born with esophageal atresia (EA) require advanced reconstructive surgery and risk long-term digestive and respiratory morbidity. We describe the state of current literature on these patients' health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and give recommendations for future research. A literature search was conducted in PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), and PsychINFO and included articles from 2015 to December 28, 2019. Criteria for selecting articles were predefined. Seventeen articles describing HRQoL among children, adolescents, and adults were found, two of which focused on adults only. Six studies included international samples and among 15 quantitative studies sample sizes varied from 17 to 928 (median: 46). Seven different HRQoL questionnaires were used for children, three of which were specially adjusted for EA, of which one was reported validity and reliability. Four questionnaires were used for adults, one of which was generic and three symptom-specific, referring to swallowing or to the gastrointestinal tract. Hence, HRQoL outcomes were described differently. However, several studies of pediatric patients with EA revealed associations between lower HRQoL and particular congenital and surgical characteristics, which reflected disease severity. In two out of three articles, pediatric patients with EA had lower overall scores than healthy children. Digestive symptoms consistently lowered HRQoL scores in children and adults. Prior to 2015, only 12 studies were published, which illustrate a recent expansion in this field. Various HRQoL aspects and heterogeneous samples are examined, and outcomes differently reported. Current literature suggests that clinical subgroups of children with EA present with impaired HRQoL and that digestive symptomology influence HRQoL negatively. Conclusions of studies focusing on adults with EA are difficult to draw. Additional research is required.