Oesophageal atresia (OA) is a congenital malformation that can lead to persistent respiratory symptoms in adulthood.
To describe the prevalence of respiratory symptoms in adulthood in a population-based study of patients with repaired OA and to compare this with the prevalence in the general population.
Of 80 patients operated for OA in Gothenburg in 1968–1983, 79 were located. The patients received a questionnaire on respiratory symptoms. Controls were 4979 gender- and age-matched subjects who answered the same questions.
The questionnaire was answered by 73 of 79 (92%) patients. Physician-diagnosed asthma was reported by 30% in the OA group vs 10% in the control group (OR 4.1; 95% CI 2.4–6.8), and recurrent wheeze in 29% vs 5.5% (OR 6.9; 4.1–11.6). Also wheeze during the last year, asthma medication, a long-standing cough, cough with sputum production and chronic bronchitis were significantly more common among the patients with OA. In contrast, there was no significant difference regarding risk factors for asthma. The prevalence of respiratory symptoms did not appear to decrease with age.
A high prevalence of respiratory symptoms remains among adult patients with repaired OA. Many of the patients had an asthma diagnosis. However, asthma heredity or allergic rhinitis was not overrepresented.