Esophagitis in Pediatric Esophageal Atresia: Acid May Not Always Be the Issue

Jessica L. Yasuda, Susannah J. Clark, Steven J. Staffa, Bradley Blansky, Peter D. Ngo, Thomas E. Hamilton, Charles Jason Smithers, Russell Jennings, Michael A. Manfredi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective:Esophagitis is highly prevalent in patients with esophageal atresia (EA). Peptic esophagitis has long been assumed to be the primary cause of esophagitis in this population, and prolonged acid suppressive medication usage is common; such treatment is of unknown benefit and carries potential risk.Methods:To better understand the role of commonly used antireflux treatments in EA, we analyzed all patients with repaired EA who underwent endoscopy with biopsies at our institution between January 2016 and August 2018. Macroscopic erosive and histologic esophagitis on biopsy was graded per predefined criteria. Clinical characteristics including acid suppressive medication usage, type of EA and repair, presence of hiatal hernia, and history of fundoplication were reviewed.Results:There were 310 unique patients (33.5% long gap EA) who underwent 576 endoscopies with biopsies during the study period. Median age at endoscopy was 3.7 years (interquartile range 21-78 months). Erosive esophagitis was found in 8.7% of patients (6.1% of endoscopies); any degree of histologic eosinophilia (≥1eosinophil/high power field [HPF]) was seen in 56.8% of patients (48.8% of endoscopies), with >15eosinophils/HPF seen in 15.2% of patients (12.3% of endoscopies). Acid suppression was common; 86.9% of endoscopies were preceded by acid suppressive medication use. Fundoplication had been performed in 78 patients (25.2%). Proton pump inhibitor (PPI) and/or H2 receptor antagonist (H2RA) use were the only significant predictors of reduced odds for abnormal esophageal biopsy (P=0.011 for PPI, P=0.048 for H2RA, and P=0.001 for PPI combined with H2RA therapy). However, change in intensity of acid suppressive therapy by either dosage or frequency was not significantly associated with change in macroscopic erosive or histologic esophagitis (P>0.437 and P>0.13, respectively). Presence or integrity of a fundoplication was not significantly associated with esophagitis (P=0.236).Conclusions:In EA patients, acid suppressive medication therapy is associated with reduced odds of abnormal esophageal biopsy, though histologic esophagitis is highly prevalent even with high rates of acid suppressive medication use. Esophagitis is likely multifactorial in EA patients, with peptic esophagitis as only one of multiple possible etiologies for esophageal inflammation. The clinical significance of histologic eosinophilia in this population warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-170
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • acid suppression therapy
  • esophageal atresia
  • esophagitis
  • fundoplication
  • proton pump inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Gastroenterology


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