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Feeding disorders in children with oesophageal atresia: a cross-sectional study


Introduction With advances in surgical and neonatal care, the survival of patients with oesophageal atresia (OA) has improved over time. Whereas a number of OA-related conditions (delayed primary anastomosis, anastomotic stricture and oesophageal dysmotility) may have an impact on feeding development and although children with OA experience several oral aversive events, paediatric feeding disorders (PFD) remain poorly described in this population. The primary aim of our study was to describe PFD in children born with OA, using a standardised scale. The secondary aim was to determine conditions associated with PFD.

Methods The Feeding Disorders in Children with Oesophageal Atresia Study is a national cohort study based on the OA registry from the French National Network. Parents of children born with OA between 2013 and 2016 in one of the 22 participating centres were asked to complete the French version of the Montreal Children’s Hospital Feeding Scale.

Results Of the 248 eligible children, 145 children, with a median age of 2.3 years (Q1–Q3 1.8–2.9, min–max 1.1–4.0 years), were included. Sixty-one children (42%) developed PFD; 13% were tube-fed (n=19). Almost 40% of children with PFD failed to thrive (n=23). The presence of chronic respiratory symptoms was associated with the development of PFD. Ten children with PFD (16%) had no other condition or OA-related complication.

Conclusion PFD are common in children with OA, and there is no typical profile of patients at risk of PFD. Therefore, all children with OA require a systematic screening for PFD that could improve the care and outcomes of patients, especially in terms of growth.

  • gastroenterology
  • growth
  • neonatology
  • occupational therapy

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request from corresponding author (

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