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Esophageal Atresia (Pediatric)

What is esophageal atresia?

Esophageal atresia is a rare condition present at birth. It occurs when the esophagus fails to connect to the stomach as it should and ends in a blind pouch instead. 

What causes esophageal atresia?

Exact causes are unknown, though some children are born with this condition as part of a larger syndrome of heart and/or digestive tract disorders.

What are the symptoms of esophageal atresia?

  • Coughing and choking with attempted feeding
  • Cyanosis (bluish tint to the skin) during attempted feeding
  • Drooling
  • Poor feeding

How is esophageal atresia diagnosed?

  • During pregnancy, excess amniotic fluid seen on an ultrasound may show esophageal atresia. 
  • After birth, the condition may be suspected if the infant chokes, coughs, and turns blue when attempting to eat. 
  • An attempt is made to pass a feeding tube through the infant’s mouth or nose and X-ray imaging is used to see if the tube reaches the stomach. The tube coiling in the upper esophagus indicates the condition. 

What is the treatment for esophageal atresia?

  • Surgical repair is needed soon after birth using minimally invasive techniques.
  • After surgery, our multidisciplinary team, including gastrointestinal specialists, provides long-term follow-up care to prevent and treat acid reflux, which affects many children after the procedure.