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Esophageal atresia


ICD-10: Q39.0

ORPHA: 1199

General information

Estimated occurrence
25:100,000 live births.
Early disturbance in fetal development when the esophagus and trachea develop. The cause is unknown, but in some cases it may be due to gene damage.
General symptoms
There are three different forms of esophageal atresia:
The upper end of the esophagus ends blindly, lower end is connected to the trachea.
Both the lower and upper esophagus end blindly.
There is a passage in the esophagus together with fistula to the trachea.
Esophageal atresia requires surgery; usually this takes place during the first week of life. If there is a long gap between the ends of a two-part esophagus surgery is usually postponed until the child is a little older. The operated area of the esophagus sometimes needs to be widened (dilated). Esophageal atresia occurs relatively often in conjunction with other types of malformations. The esophagus may be narrow or have impaired function which may cause swallowing difficulties. Many people have problems with gastroesophageal reflux (backflow from the stomach into the esophagus). Respiratory problems are also common.
Tracheo-esophageal fistula

Orofacial/odontological symptoms

Delayed eating development and swallowing difficulties are common. Eating difficulties and frequent vomiting carry an increased risk for oral health.

Advice on follow-up and treatment

  • Children with eating difficulties often require extra dental care, including help with oral hygiene and fluoride treatments.
  • Feeding and swallowing difficulties are investigated and treated by a specialist team at the hospital or multidisciplinary treatment centre.
  • Training in oral motor skills in cases of eating disorders may be necessary.


Updated: 2019-11-12 14:44