FAQ - esophageal atresia
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Esophageal Atresia?

week 24 of pregnancy. now what?

Definition Return to top

Esophageal atresia is a disorder of the digestive system in which the esophagus does not develop properly. The disorder is a congenital defect, which means it occurs before birth. There are several types.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors Return to top

The esophagus is the tube that normally carries food from the mouth to the stomach. In most cases of esophageal atresia, the upper esophagus ends blindly and does not connect with the lower esophagus and stomach. In these cases, the top end of the lower esophagus is connected with the trachea (windpipe). This connection between the lower esophagus and the trachea is called a tracheoesophageal fistula (often abbreviated TEF).

Over 30% of people affected by this condition will also have other abnormalities, such as heart disorders or other gastrointestinal tract disorders. Other types of esophageal atresia involve narrowing of the esophagus and may also be associated with other birth defects.

This condition is frequently complicated by the infant's breathing saliva and secretions into the lungs, causing pneumonia, choking, and possibly death. It is considered a surgical emergency.

The disorder is usually detected shortly after birth when feeding is attempted and the infant coughs, chokes, and turns blue (cyanosis). Immediate surgical repair of this disorder is required so that the lungs are not damaged and the baby can be fed.

Symptoms Return to top

Excessive salivation
Poor feeding
Coughing, gagging, and choking associated with attempted feeding
Bluish coloration to the skin (cyanosis) associated with attempted feedings
Excessive amniotic fluid during pregnancy (polyhydramnios)
Signs and tests Return to top

Prior to birth, the presence of excessive amniotic fluid will arouse suspicion of esophageal atresia or other obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract.

After birth, as soon as the diagnosis is suspected, an attempt to pass a small feeding tube (nasogastric tube) through the mouth or nose into the stomach should be made. The feeding tube will not be able to pass all the way to the stomach in a baby with esophageal atresia.

An X-ray of the esophagus shows an air-filled pouch and air in the stomach and intestine. If a feeding tube was passed it will be seen coiled up in the upper esophagus.

Treatment Return to top

Surgery to repair the esophagus is done quickly after the infant has been stabilized. Before the surgery, the infant is not fed by mouth, and care is taken to prevent the infant from breathing secretions into the lungs.

Expectations (prognosis) Return to top

An early diagnosis gives a better chance of a good outcome.

Complications Return to top

Prematurity may complicate the condition
Aspiration pneumonia
Feeding difficulties
Reflux (the repeated regurgitation of food) is common after surgery
Calling your health care provider Return to top

This disorder is usually diagnosed shortly after the birth of an infant.

Call your infant's health care provider if the infant regurgitates repeatedly after feedings, or if the infant develops breathing difficulties  (+ info)

1/4000 babies are born with esophageal atresia, where esophagus doesnt connect to the stomach...?

..many infants also have a fistula.
how will esophageal atresia with fistula affect the infant/
--infant will notbe able to pass milk 2 stomach
-infant will not be able to absorb nutrients from milk
- infant may develop pneumonia from milk entering lungs

this isnt really a question.....go to a blog site or something.......  (+ info)

TE fistula/Esophageal atresia?

Does anyone have a child that had these problems at birth? I would like to talk to others.

I'm sorry -- I've searched on Google and at parenting web sites and wasn't able to find any online support groups for parents with babies with these conditions. I do know that TE fistula is common, so perhaps someone will post here. Perhaps ask your pediatrician if there are some support groups near you? Good luck!  (+ info)

What is atresia of the ampullary portion and what the treatment?

I did a hysterosalpingogram and my result was atresia of the ampullary portion of the left tube> you think I will be able to conceive?

If the right tube and ovary are ok you should have no problem.  (+ info)

What exactly is bilateral coanial atresia?

What is bilateral coanial atresia? What are the symptoms? What are the risks of having it? Is it rare? If so, how rare?

OK, it is congenital, the person was born with it. It is, if it's bilateral, a complete obstruction of the back of the nasal passages (choana). The real problem being born with this is that babies are obligate nasal breathers, they must breathe through their nose. This presents a problem in the neonatal setting as it's necessary to insert an oral airway or intubate them. Either of these is absolutely necessary as the baby cannot breathe without one of them. It's a relatively routine procedure for neonates to be intubated but it does carry risks.
The only correction is surgical. An ENT doctor must create an open nasal passage for the baby to breathe normally. And, of course, any surgery carries risks.
Choanal atresia is usually unilateral, just one side. There is an archival case of a 35 year old woman with bilateral choanal atresia but it, obviously, wasn't a complete blockage.
The incidence of choanal atresia is about 1:5,000 to 1:8,000 births. It is usually unilateral and not diagnosed until later in life. Bilateral is more rare. And it's found much more frequently in females than males. Go figure.
Hope this helps.And thank you for the interesting question.  (+ info)

What is the best way to cure esophageal cancer?

My father is suffering from esophageal cancer. The cancer has affected a nerve near his throat causing him to lose his voice. Also, it has already metastasized to two other organs.

He has been treated with combined chemotherapy and radiation therapy for half a year, but his cancer shows no sign of shrinking and it's gradually growing.

His doctor says he cannot surgically remove the cancer because the cancer is adjacent to nerves and important organs and such an operation will damage the adjacent areas.

Isn't there any good way to cure his cancer?

As a rule, there is no cure for esophageal cancer. There is a surgical procedure that can be performed but if it has already metastasized to other organs it's probably already too advanced. Prognosis for this time of cancer is usually 5 yrs max.....but that's for strictly esophageal cancer. Depending on what other organs are involved, that time would likely be reduced.

Because it effects the esophageous, eating can become very difficult so it's important for him to take supplements like Ensure to keep his strength. Most people with esophageal cancer lose a lot of weight.  (+ info)

What is possibly the esophageal pain I feel from my throat down to my sternum?

After just getting over the flu and having a cough, I have horrible, almost constant esophageal pain. It's a feeling as if I have swallowed a potato chip, and it's traveling down the tube. I'm only coughing up the normal amount of mucus as normal, as I smoke, but haven't much since this pain (maybe 2 at most a day). It also hurts to eat anything. What could this possibly be?

Laura P, welcome to the joys of acid reflux. Your flu may be the blame, but it may be a condition that will continue after the flu is gone.  (+ info)

What are the stages of advanced esophageal cancer?

My grandpa has just been diagnosed with advanced esophageal cancer...I was wondering,what are the stages and explain what happens to the body and can they be cured or helped?
Btw,Idk what stage he has. The doctor does not know yet he only explained it was advanced.

My father was diagnosed at the beginning of January (this year, 2009) with Esophageal Cancer. He is stage 4-the last stage. They discovered his cancer when he could no longer swallow, and he had lost over 20 pounds. His cancer had already spread to the shoulders, hips, and liver when it was discoverd. He had been on reflux medicine for over 20 years, was not a drinker, and smoked for a couple years as a teenager. As of yesterday he has been given 3 weeks to live because the cancer is spreading so rapidly and has multiplied all over his liver, causing the liver not to function. He is still in the hospital as they are trying to get his heartrate back to normal (for an unknown reason it is really high, his heart is otherwise very strong). The oncologist said he will start sleeping more and more as the liver shuts down, and thats how he will go. Its a very aggressive cancer and unfortunately if its already in an advanced stage, prepare yourself for the worst. I never imagined that my dad would have such a short fight. He started his chemo 2/2/09 and now has 3 weeks left to live. I think it depends in your case if the cancer has already spread to other organs, if it hasn't then you have a much better chance at fighting it. I wish your family the best, I know too well what someone with esophageal cancer has to go through and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.  (+ info)

Why does a person with esophageal cancer have a feeding tube inserted into the duodenum instead of the stomach?

A patient has esophageal cancer and must have a feeding tube inserted. The nurse tells the patient that the tube will be inserted surgically into the duodenum. The wife asks why the tube will not be inserted into the stomach. What should the nurse say?

There are two main types of esophageal cancer. The most common type of oesophageal cancer, known as adenocarcinoma, develops in the glandular tissue in the lower part of the oesophagus, near the opening of the stomach. It occurs in just over 50 percent of cases. Squamous cell carcinoma grows in the cells that form the top layer of the lining of the oesophagus, known as squamous cells. This type of cancer can grow anywhere along the esophagus. Oesophageal cancer is cancer that develops in the oesophagus, the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach. The oesophagus, located just behind the trachea, is about 10 to 13 inches in length and allows food to enter the stomach for digestion. The wall of the oesophagus is made up of several layers and cancers generally start from the inner layer and grow out. A flexible, narrow tube is inserted into some portion of the digestive tract and liquid formulas or liquefied foods are placed into the tube to meet the patient's nutritional needs. The feeding may be pumped into the tube or allowed to drip into the tube continuously or at scheduled feeding times. Percutaneous endoscopic jejunostomy tubes (JEJ or PEJ tubes) are tubes that are put into a part of the small intestine called the jejunum. The jejunum is situated a little way after the stomach. The surgeon puts a tube through an opening in the abdomen and into the jejunum. PEJ tubes are put in using an endoscopy, like a PEG tube – (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy). This type of tube is particularly used for people who have stomach or oesophageal surgery. If the tube goes directly into the small intestine, feeds are usually given slowly all the time. There is usually a pump that controls the speed of the feed passing into the tube, rather than a drip-feed. If the feeding tube is inserted into the stomach, there has to be a period of “rest” to allow the stomach respite from working. Also, it depends on the location of the cancer in the oesophagus, which may influence the location of the jejunostomy tube.


It is extremely important to obtain an accurate diagnosis before trying to find a cure. Many diseases and conditions share common symptoms.

The information provided here should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.

Hope this helps
matador 89  (+ info)

What the home treatment or self treatment for esophageal spasm?

ive been suffering from this esophageal spasm lately... and it really sucks. I mean feel like i am soffucated. and even i try to relax it wont relax... pls help.

there are few treatments really, some Dr's prescribe ranitidine or omeprazole to stop you making so much stomach acid so when the spasm occurs the acid doesn't jump into your oesophagus and cause you pain.
for the spasm itself, its a case of trial and error with meds as the drugs they use are all primarily designed to be used on other conditions.
Things you can do yourself are as follows
avoid taking big gulps of fluids
avoid food + fluids that are excessively hot or cold
make sure you drink plenty at mealtimes to make food easier to swallow + digest
some people can identify specific food as triggers- your Dr can help you look into this.

also please make sure you have a medical diagnosis of oesophageal spasm before you self treat as there are many digestive disorders with similar symptoms, some harmless and some potentially very serious.  (+ info)

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