Objective To describe prevalence, prenatal diagnosis and epidemiological data on oesophageal atresia from 23 well-defined European regions and compare the prevalence between these regions.
Design Population-based study using data from a large European database for surveillance of congenital anomalies (EUROCAT) for two decades (1987–2006).
Settings Twenty-three participating registries based on multiple sources of information including information about live births, fetal deaths with gestational age ≥20 weeks and terminations of pregnancy.
Patients 1222 cases of oesophageal atresia in a population of 5 019 804 births.
Results The overall prevalence was 2.43 cases per 10 000 births (95% CI 2.30 to 2.57). There were regional differences in prevalence ranging from 1.27 to 4.55. Prenatal detection rates varied by registry from >50% of cases to <10% of cases. A total of 546 cases (44.7%) had an isolated oesophageal anomaly, 386 (31.6%) were multiple malformed and 290 (23.7%) had an association or a syndrome. There were 1084 live born cases (88.7%), 43 cases were fetal deaths and 95 cases were terminations of pregnancy. One-week survival for live births was 86.9% and 99.2% if the gestational age was ≥38 weeks and isolated oesophageal atresia was present. Males accounted for 57.3% of all cases and 38.5% of live born cases were born with gestational age <37 weeks.
Conclusion There were regional differences in prevalence of oesophageal atresia in Europe. Half of all cases had associated anomalies. Prenatal detection rate increased from 26% to 36.5% over the two decades. Survival in infants with isolated oesophageal atresia born at term is high.
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