Endoscopic electrocautery incisional therapy as a treatment for refractory benign pediatric esophageal strictures

Michael A. Manfredi, Susannah J. Clark, Shawn Medford, Steven J. Staffa, Peter D. Ngo, Thomas E. Hamilton, C. Jason Smithers, Russell W. Jennings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Aim: Refractory esophageal strictures are rare conditions in pediatrics, and are often due to anastomotic, congenital, or caustic strictures. Traditional treatment options include serial dilation and surgical stricture resection; endoscopic intralesional steroid injections, mitomycin C, and externally removable stents combined with dilation have had variable success rates. Although not as widely used, endoscopic electrocautery incisional therapy (EIT) has been reported as an alternative treatment for refractory strictures in a small number of adult series. The aim of the study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of EIT in a pediatric population with refractory esophageal strictures. Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted on all patients who underwent EIT for esophageal strictures (May 2011-September 2017)at our tertiary-care referral center. A total of 57 patients underwent EIT. Procedural success was defined as no stricture resection, appropriate diameter for age, and fewer than 7 dilations within 24 months of first EIT session. This corresponded to the 90th percentile of the observed number of dilations in the data. All patients included in the study had at least 2-year follow-up. Results: A total of 133 EIT sessions on 58 distinct anastomotic strictures were performed on 57 patients (24 girls). The youngest patient to have EIT was 3 months old and 4.8 kg. There were 36 strictures that met the criteria for refractory stricture and 22 non-refractory (NR) strictures. The median number of dilations before EIT therapy was 8 (interquartile range [IQR]: 6-10) in the refractory group and 3 (IQR: 0-3) in the NR group. In the refractory group, 61% of the patients met the criteria for treatment success. The median number of dilations within 2 years of EIT in the refractory group was 2 (IQR: 0-4). In the NR group, 100% of the patients met criteria for success. The median number of dilations within 2 years of EIT in the NR was 1 (IQR: 0-2). The overall adverse event rate was 5.3% (7/133), with 3 major (2.3%) and 4 minor events (3%). Conclusions: EIT shows promise as an adjunct treatment option for pediatric refractory esophageal strictures and may be considered before surgical resection even in severe cases. The complication rate, albeit low, is significant, and EIT should only be considered by experienced endoscopists in close consultation with surgery. Further prospective longitudinal studies are needed to validate this treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)464-468
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Dilation
  • Esophageal atresia
  • Esophageal dilation
  • Esophageal stricture
  • Esophagus
  • Incisional therapy
  • Recalcitrant stricture
  • Refractory stricture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Gastroenterology


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