Minimally invasive surgical approach in children treated for Oesophageal Atresia is associated with attention problems at school age: a prospective cohort study

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Abstract

The long-term neurodevelopment of children born with oesophageal atresia (OA) is unclear. Therefore, we assessed the neurocognitive domains and their predictors. Patients born with OA between February 2006 and December 2014, who were routinely seen at eight years as part of a structured prospective longitudinal follow-up program, were included. Main outcome measures were need for school support, performance in various neurocognitive domains and potential predictors of neurocognitive problems. We analysed data of 65 children with a mean (SD) age of 8.1 (0.2) years, of whom 89% with OA type C. Thirty-five (54%) surgical corrections were minimally invasive; the median (interquartile range) duration of exposure to anaesthetics in the first 24 months was 398 (296 – 710) minutes. Forty-four (68%) attended regular education without extra support and intelligence was within normal range (99–108). More than 50% had z-scores ≤ -2 on one or more neurocognitive domains, of which attention was the most frequently affected domain. The speed on the sustained attention task was significantly below normal (z-score -1.48 (2.12), p <.001), as was fluctuation of sustained attention (z-score -3.19 (3.80), p <.001). The minimally invasive approach and a lower socio-economic status (both p = 0.006) proved significant predictors for sustained attention problems in multivariable analyses. Conclusion: Children who undergo minimally invasive surgery for OA correction are at risk for sustained attention problems at school age. Future studies unravelling the effects of perioperative events on neurodevelopment should lead to optimal surgical, anaesthesiological, and intensive care management in the neonatal period. (Table presented.)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2131-2140
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
Volume183
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

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