Symptomatic vocal cord paresis/paralysis in infants operated on for esophageal atresia and/or tracheo-esophageal fistula

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Objectives: To describe the prevalence and pathogenesis of symptomatic vocal cord paresis/paralysis (VCP) in patients treated for esophageal atresia (EA), tracheo-esophageal fistula (TEF) or both. Study design: Retrospective study of all patients treated for EA/TEF in our center (1995 to 2009). Patients with and without symptomatic VCP were compared for gestational age, birth weight, associated anomalies, referrals, long-gap EA (>3cm or 3 vertebral bodies), cervical esophagostomy, anastomotic leakage, length of ventilation, and major cardiac surgery. Prevalence or median (IQR) is reported. Results: Of 174 patients, 7 (4%) had symptomatic VCP. Prevalence of referrals (5/7 versus 21/167; P = .0009), long gap (5/7 versus 41/167; P = .0146), previous cervical esophagostomy (5/7 versus 7/167; P <.0001), and anastomotic leakage (3/7 versus 10/167; P = .0097) was higher, and ventilation longer (8.5 days [7.0 to 15.5] versus 6.0 days (5.0 to 7.0); P = .0072) in patients with VCP. Conclusions: In infants treated for EA/TEF, VCP should be ruled out in case of persistent respiratory morbidity or, when present, cautiously monitored. Surgical risk factors should be actively controlled. Further studies are needed to define the prevalence of acquired and congenital VCP in patients with EA/TEF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)973-976
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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