VACTERL anomalies in patients with esophageal atresia: an updated delineation of the spectrum and review of the literature.

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DOI: 10.1007/s00383-007-1891-0


The VACTERL complex refers to anomalies of the bony spinal column (V), atresias in the gastrointestinal tract (A), congenital heart lesions (C), tracheoesophageal defects (TE), renal and distal urinary tract anomalies (R) and limb lesions (L). The incidence of each of these components has not been precisely quantified in the recent literature and the full array of anomalies within each systemic class of the VACTERL complex has not been well described. Therefore, we reviewed our most recent 20-year experience of patients born with esophageal atresia to comprehensively delineate and accurately describe the type and incidence of associated lesions. A retrospective review was then conducted on all patients diagnosed with esophageal atresia between 1985 and 2005. Patient demographics recorded included gestational age, weight and gender. The specific types of lesions were carefully cataloged. The outcome measure recorded was survival. One hundred and twelve patients were diagnosed with esophageal atresia were identified during the study period. The gestational age range was 28-41 weeks with an average of 36.5 weeks. Average birth weight was 2,557 g (range 1,107-3,890). A male predominance was seen with 62 males and 50 females. The overall survival was 92.9%. The categorical breakdown of anomalies were vertebral (24.1%), atresia (14.3%), cardiac (32.1%), tracheoesophageal fistula (95.5%), urinary (17.0%), skeletal (16.1%) and other (10.8%). VACTERL anomalies are common in patients with esophageal atresia, however, they appear to have little impact on overall survival.

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Pediatric surgery international





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MeSH Keywords

Abnormalities, Multiple; Esophageal Atresia; Female; Heart Defects, Congenital; Humans; Incidence; Infant, Newborn; Male; Retrospective Studies; Spinal Diseases; Trachea; Urinary Tract


VACTERL association; vertebral defects, anal atresia, cardiac defects, tracheo-esophageal fistula, renal anomalies, and limb abnormalities

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