The first step in treating your child is forming an accurate and complete diagnosis.
Esophageal atresia is detected shortly after birth, usually right after the baby first tries to feed.
If a baby has esophageal atresia, she might sputter, cough and choke, because the liquid may be filling up the back of her throat and blocking her airway.
If she has a tracheoesophageal fistula, an abnormal connection between the esophagus and the trachea that is commonly seen with EA, food may enter her lungs when she swallows, causing her to cough it up.
If your baby is unable to cough out the food, doctors put a tube down her mouth or nose into her esophagus to suction it out. If her esophagus is blocked, the tube will only go a short way in. Then, the doctors usually order an x-ray and call in a surgeon.
At Children’s, after we complete all necessary tests, our experts meet to review and discuss what they have learned about your child's condition. Then we will meet with you and your family to discuss the results and outline the best treatment options.
Can esophageal atresia be diagnosed prenatally?
Sometimes long-gap esophageal atresia may be indicated on a pre-natal ultrasound. A fetus may seem to have a very small or barely visible stomach. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the baby has esophageal atresia.
|Stretching the limits|
“Five weeks before his due date, Elliot Cleckler was diagnosed with esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF), an abnormal connection between the esophagus and the trachea that can cause food traveling down the esophagus or acid refluxing up from the stomach to pass into the lungs. His parents, Jay and Heather, were upset but hopeful.” Read more.