Esophageal atresia - Overview
Definition of Esophageal atresia:
Esophageal atresia is a disorder of the digestive system in which the esophagus does not develop properly. The esophagus is the tube that normally carries food from the mouth to the stomach.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors:
Esophageal atresia is a congenital defect, which means it occurs before birth. There are several types. In most cases, the upper esophagus ends and does not connect with the lower esophagus and stomach. The top end of the lower esophagus connects to the windpipe. This connection is called a tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF). Some babies with TEF will also have other problems, such as heart or other digestive tract disorders.
Other types of esophageal atresia involve narrowing of the esophagus, and may also be associated with other birth defects.
Esophageal atresia occurs in about 1 out of 4,000 births.
- Reviewed last on: 9/14/2009
- David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Orenstein S, Peters J, Khan S, Youssef N, Hussain SZ. Congenital anomalies: esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 316.
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