Premature, small infants susceptible to esophagitis

December 18, 2012

Babies who are born preterm or small for gestational age are at increased risk for developingesophagitis early in life, according to a recent study of the association between the risk for esophagitis and birth history.

 

Babies who are born preterm or small for gestational age are at increased risk for developingesophagitis early in life, according to a recent study of the association between the risk for esophagitis and birth history.

Researchers analyzed data from the Swedish birth and patient registers for birth characteristics and outcomes of 7,358 patients diagnosed with esophagitis from 1973 to 2007. Five controls were matched with each case.

Patients who were born preterm (≤32 weeks’ gestation) or small for gestational age (weight in grams ≥2 standard deviations less than mean birth weight) were at 2.74 and 1.49 increased risk, respectively, for developing esophagitis.

Children who were aged 9 years or younger when diagnosed were 6.82 times as likely to have been born prematurely and 1.98 times more likely to have been small for gestational age. Boys were more likely to have been born preterm than girls, who were more likely to have been born small for gestational age.

Among patients diagnosed when aged between 10 and 19 years, the likelihood for both preterm birth and small for gestational age was increased. There was no association between preterm birth and esophagitis diagnosed when patients were aged 20 years or older, but there was association with being small for gestational age.

The researchers say that the strong association between preterm birth and impaired fetal growth and esophagitis in childhood merits further study of gastroesophageal reflux in infants that could place them at risk for esophageal adenocarcinoma later in life.