Babies may be born with some congenital anomalies. The fetus in the mother's womb may experience structural and physical abnormalities due to hereditary diseases, deformities in the mother's womb and exposure to radiation during the development process. This resulting condition is called congenital anomaly and malformation. Esophageal atresia and trachea-esophageal are one of them. However, with a properly planned procedure and a successful treatment, the baby can continue its normal development. Correction of esophageal atresia and trachea-esophageal fistula is usually possible with a single operation.
Esophageal atresia is a congenital anomaly that is seen once in 3000-4500 births and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of newborn babies with postnatal feeding difficulties or respiratory distress. Esophageal atresia and trachea-esophageal fistula, diagnosed immediately after birth, should be treated without delay. Pre-diagnosis of these diseases can be done by not seeing the stomach cavity or seeing it small in the prenatal ultrasound. However, the most definitive diagnosis occurs immediately after birth, and then a surgical treatment process is planned.
WHAT IS ESOPHAGEAL ATRESIA?
Esophageal atresia is a birth defect in which part of the baby's esophagus does not develop properly. In a baby with esophageal atresia, the esophagus has two separate sections, the upper and lower esophagus, that are not connected to each other. A baby with this birth defect is unable to pass food from their mouth to the stomach and sometimes has difficulty breathing. Esophageal atresia usually occurs with trachea-esophageal fistula, a birth defect in which part of the esophagus is attached to the trachea or windpipe.
TYPES OF ESOPHAGEAL ATRESIA
There are 4 types of esophageal atresia, named Type A, Type B, Type C and Type D. These are as follows:
- Type A esophageal atresia is when the upper and lower parts of the esophagus are not connected to each other and the ends are closed. No part of the esophagus with these features attaches to the trachea.
- Type B esophageal atresia is very rare. In type B, the upper part of the esophagus is attached to the trachea, but the lower part of the esophagus has a closed end.
- Type C esophageal atresia is the most common type. In this type, the upper part of the esophagus has a closed end and the lower part of the esophagus is attached to the trachea.
- Type D esophageal atresia is the rarest and most severe form of esophageal atresia. In this type, the upper and lower parts of the esophagus are not connected to each other and each is connected to the trachea separately.
SYMPTOMS OF ESOPHAGEAL ATRESIA IN INFANTS
Babies with esophageal atresia show some symptoms. These symptoms are as follows:
- A baby with esophageal atresia has difficulty swallowing saliva or milk. For this reason, the milk that the baby sucks accumulates in his mouth and the baby spits out this accumulated milk.
- If the baby is experiencing upper tracheo-esophageal fistula with esophageal atresia, the sucked milk may be sucked into the lungs, and as a result, the baby may experience coughing attacks accompanied by bruising.
DIAGNOSIS OF ESOPHAGEAL ATRESIA IN INFANTS
Diagnosing esophageal atresia is rare during pregnancy. Esophageal atresia can most commonly be observed in the postnatal period when the baby starts feeding for the first time. The baby with this condition may experience choking or vomiting during the first feeding.
TREATMENT OF ESOPHAGEAL ATRESIA IN INFANTS
In a baby with esophageal atresia, urgent surgical treatment is required to connect the closed ends of the esophagus and to close the fistula. However, in some cases, more than one surgical application may be required. If these surgical applications are completed successfully, the baby will go through normal development. For this reason, babies showing the symptoms listed above should be evaluated by a pediatric gastrologist.