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Esophageal atresia

Esophageal atresia is a congenital medical condition (birth defect) which effects the alimentary tract. It causes the esophagus to end in a blind-ended pouch rather than connecting normally to the stomach.

This condition takes several different forms, often involving one or more fistulas connecting the trachea to the esophagus (tracheoesophageal fistula[?]). Approximately 85% of affected babies will have a 'lower fistula'.

This condition is visible some time shortly before birth on an ultrasound, or it may be detected soon after birth as the affected infant will be unable to swallow its own saliva. Any attempt at feeding could cause aspiration pneumonia[?] as the milk collects in the blind pouch and overflows into the trachea and lungs. Because of these dangers, the condition must be treated as soon as possible after birth.

Treatments for the condition vary depending on its severity. The most immediate and effective treatment in the majority of cases is a relatively simple surgical repair to close the fistula/s and reconnect the two ends of the esophagus to each other. This is not possible in all cases, and a feeding tube[?] may be necessary.


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