Multicentre survey on the current surgical management of oesophageal atresia in Belgium and Luxembourg

Helena Reusens, Lucas Matthyssens, Charlotte Vercauteren, Katrien van Renterghem, Belgian Association of Paediatric Surgery (BELAPS)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


INTRODUCTION: The surgical management of oesophageal atresia (OA) differs between pediatric surgical teams without consensus. We aimed to describe the current practice of OA treatment in Belgium and Luxembourg and compare this to the literature.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A questionnaire was created and sent to all 18 hospitals (14 pediatric surgical units) performing OA surgery in Belgium and Luxembourg. The results were compared to the literature.

RESULTS: Most units treat an average of 2-5 OA+TOF (71%) and ≤1 pure OA (pOA) per year (86%). The preferred surgical approach for OA+TOF is thoracotomy (86%), mostly extra-pleural (75%). Thoracoscopic OA repair is performed in 21%. All centers perform an end-to-end anastomosis (interrupted sutures), and all leave a transanastomotic tube. A chest drain is routinely used in 8units (57%). In pOA the preferred surgical approach is gastrostomy formation with delayed primary anastomosis (77%). The timing for delayed anastomosis is 2 to 24months. Intra-operative lengthening is mostly attempted with Foker technique (46%). If oesophageal replacement is needed, gastric interposition is mostly used (75%). A postoperative contrast study is routinely performed in 86% for OA+TOF and in 100% for pOA. Anti-reflux medication is routinely prescribed by all units but one.

CONCLUSION: There are still many differences and controversies in the perioperative management of OA. Part of this is based on habits and is difficult to change without scientific evidence. There is a need for prospective (inter)national registries to further identify the existing differences, leading to a more widely accepted consensus.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-246
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Belgium
  • Esophageal Atresia/surgery
  • Esophagoplasty/methods
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Luxembourg
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'/statistics & numerical data
  • Thoracoscopy/statistics & numerical data
  • Thoracotomy/statistics & numerical data


Dive into the research topics of 'Multicentre survey on the current surgical management of oesophageal atresia in Belgium and Luxembourg'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this