Does continuous positive airway pressure for extubation in congenital tracheoesophageal fistula increase the risk of anastomotic leak? A retrospective cohort study

P.S. S. Shah, Gera Parshotam, I.J. J. Gollow, Shripada Rao

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    Aim: Immediate post-operative care of tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF) and oesophageal atresia (EA) requires mechanical ventilation. Early extubation is preferred, but subsequent respiratory distress may warrant re-intubation. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a well-established modality to prevent extubation failures in preterm infants. However, it is not favoured in TEF/EA, because of the theoretical risk of oesophageal anastomotic leak (AL). The aim of this study was to find out if post-extubation CPAP is associated with increased risk of AL. Methods: Retrospective cohort study (2007–2014). Results: Fifty-one infants underwent primary repair in the newborn period. Median age at surgery was 24 h (interquartile range: 12, 24). In the post-extubation period, 10 received CPAP, whereas 41 did not. The median post-operative day at the commencement of CPAP was 2.5 days (interquartile range: 1, 6 days). Zero out of 10 in the CPAP group and 4/41 in the ‘no CPAP’ group developed AL on routine post-operative contrast studies (P = 0.57). Zero out of 10 in the CPAP group and 1/41 in the ‘no CPAP group’ developed recurrence of TEF necessitating re-surgery (P = 1.00). The neonate with recurrent fistula also had coarctation of aorta and needed protracted hospitalisation of 6 months, mainly because of the recurrence of TEF. Conclusion: The use of CPAP in the immediate post-extubation period after corrective surgery for TEF/EA appears to be safe and may not be associated with increased risk of AL or recurrence of the fistula. Information from other centres, surveys and large databases is needed to define the benefits and risks of use of CPAP in these infants. © 2016 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (The Royal Australasian College of Physicians)
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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