Surgical outcomes of different approaches to esophageal replacement in long-gap esophageal atresia: A systematic review

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Esophageal replacement (ER) surgery has been widely used in long-gap esophageal atresia (LGEA) over the past few decades. The most commonly used surgical approaches in many pediatric surgical centers include colon interposition (CI), gastric pull-up (GPU), jejunal interposition (JI), and gastric tube reconstruction (GTR). However, there is no systematic evidence on which is the optimal conduit for the native esophagus. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the short- and long-term outcomes among these 4 replacement approaches in LGEA cases based on current evidence.


PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, and EMBASE were searched for relevant literature on November 18 2016. Studies on ER in LGEA were reviewed and selected according to eligibility criteria. We focused on surgical outcomes regarding to different replacement approaches, including postoperative complications and long-term follow-up. Both detailed descriptions of single studies and pooled data analysis were conducted. Data were computed by Reviewer Manager 5.3.


Twenty-three studies were included (4 comparative retrospective, 3 prospective, and 16 retrospective) with a total of 593 patients (393 LGEA, 66.3%). The number of patients with available data for analysis was 534 (90.1%), including 127 patients (98 LGEA) of GPU, 335 (223 LGEA) of CI, 45 (all LGEA) of JI, and 27 (all LGEA) of GTR. Follow-up information was provided in 15 studies. Anastomotic leak and stricture, respiratory problems, and gastroesophageal reflux were analyzed as major postoperative complications. Long-term follow-ups were concentrated on growth and feeding conditions.


Current evidence on short- and long-term outcomes of ER in LGEA patients was limited, and proper prospective comparative studies were lacking. This present systematic review indicates CI and GPU as comparable and favorable approaches, especially CI in the long-term outcomes. Studies on JI and GTR were limited, which need larger sample size to assess their validity and outcomes.

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