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Esophageal atresia

  • Alternative Names

    Tracheoesophageal fistula


    Esophageal atresia is considered a surgical emergency. Surgery to repair the esophagus should be done quickly after the baby is stabilized so that the lungs are not damaged and the baby can be fed.

    Before the surgery, the baby is not fed by mouth. Care is taken to prevent the baby from breathing secretions into the lungs.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

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


    The infant may breath saliva and other secretions into the lungs, causing aspiration pneumonia, choking, and possibly death.

    Other complications may include:

    • Feeding problems
    • Reflux (the repeated bringing up of food from the stomach) after surgery
    • Narrowing (stricture) of the esophagus due to scarring from surgery

    Prematurity may complicate the condition.

    Calling your health care provider

    This disorder is usually diagnosed shortly after birth.

    Call your baby's health care provider if the baby vomits repeatedly after feedings, or if the baby develops breathing difficulties.