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Cautionary tales in the use of magnets for the treatment of long gap esophageal atresia

Published:November 13, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2021.11.002

      Highlights

      • What is currently known about this topic? There are no detailed reports of significant complications following magnamosis for esophageal atresia beyond anastomotic strictures.
      • What new information is contained in this article? We propose the following inclusion criteria and considerations for magnamosis: an esophageal gap truly less than four centimeters off tension with standardized measurement, cautious use with a history of prior esophageal surgery, no associated tracheobronchomalacia or great vessel anomaly that would benefit from concurrent repair, and ideally to be used in centers equipped to manage potential complications.

      Abstract

      Background

      The use of magnets for the treatment of long gap esophageal atresia or “magnamosis” is associated with increased incidence of anastomotic strictures; however, little has been reported on other complications that may provide insight into refining selection criteria for appropriate use.

      Methods

      A single institution, retrospective review identified three cases referred for treatment after attempted magnamosis with significant complications. Their presentation, imaging, management, and outcomes were reviewed.

      Results

      All three patients had prior cervical or thoracic surgery to close a tracheoesophageal fistula prior to magnamosis, creating scar tissue that can prevent magnet induced esophageal movement, leading to either magnets not attracting enough or erosion into surrounding structures. Two patients had a reported four centimeter esophageal gap prior to attempted magnamosis, both failing to achieve esophageal anastomosis, suggesting that these gaps were either measured on tension with variability in gap measurement technique, or that the esophageal segments were fixed in position from scar tissue and unable to elongate. One patient had severe tracheobronchomalacia requiring tracheostomy, with improvement in his airway after eventual tracheobronchopexies, highlighting that magnamosis does not address comorbidities often associated with this patient population.

      Conclusions

      We propose the following inclusion criteria and considerations for magnamosis: an esophageal gap truly less than four centimeters off tension with standardized measurement across centers, cautious use with a history of prior thoracic or cervical esophageal surgery, no associated tracheobronchomalacia or great vessel anomaly that would benefit from concurrent repair, and ideally to be used in centers equipped to manage potential complications.

      Level of evidence

      Level IV treatment study.

      Keywords

      Abbreviations:

      LGEA (long gap esophageal atresia), EA (esophageal atresia), TEF (tracheoesophageal fistula), TBM (tracheobronchomalacia), ALTE (apparent life-threatening event), GVA (great vessel anomaly)
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