Treating these conditions
These conditions are treated with surgery to connect the upper part of the esophagus to the stomach and to separate any connection between the esophagus and the windpipe. Before surgery, the heart, kidneys and spine will be examined by ultrasound, and an X-ray will be taken of the arm and leg bones to look for any other areas of concern. Surgery is usually performed within a few days after birth.
Until surgery is performed, your baby is not fed by mouth and a suction tube is kept in the upper esophagus to prevent saliva from being breathed into the lungs. After surgery, your baby will be fed by IV fluids through the vein.
When milk is introduced, it will likely be given through a tube that is surgically placed through the esophagus into the stomach. During surgery, another tube will be placed to drain any fluid from the chest. This chest tube will remain in place until a contrast X-ray study is taken (approximately five to seven days later) to make sure there is no leak from the repair site before your baby starts taking feedings by mouth. Mothers planning to breastfeed are encouraged to pump breast milk that will be frozen and stored until your baby is able to be fed.
The length of stay in the NICU for an infant with this condition varies. Your baby will be able to go home when they can tolerate full feedings and are gaining weight. After discharge, a pediatrician will monitor your baby. Your baby will also come back to Children’s Mercy to see the pediatric surgeon or any other necessary specialists.
What are the expected outcomes?
Babies without any other significant birth differences have a survival rate of greater than 95 percent. However, each baby might require additional procedures, such as esophageal dilation, if there is persistent narrowing of the esophagus.
Why choose Children’s Mercy?
At Children’s Mercy, our team of pediatric surgeons has the most experience treating esophageal atresia in the region. In fact, our surgeons were some of the first to apply minimally invasive surgical techniques (surgery through very small incisions) to the treatment of esophageal atresia.
The Fetal Health Center team can help diagnose conditions like esophageal atresia and plan for your baby's delivery so that they can receive immediate care from our neonatal specialists, all while staying close by to you.
Children with esophageal atresia can have problems eating. Our team of specialists will provide ongoing care for your child to ensure that any problems are recognized early and treated.