Some babies are born with an esophagus that doesn't connect to the stomach. The esophagus is the tube that connects the throat to the stomach. If the tube doesn't reach the stomach, your baby's food stays in the tube. It can't be digested. This is called esophageal atresia (say "ee-sof-uh-JEE-ul uh-TREE-zhuh"). It's often called EA.
Next to the esophagus is the trachea, or windpipe. Your baby breathes through this tube. If there's an opening between the esophagus and the trachea, stomach juices and saliva may be breathed into the lungs. This can cause choking, breathing problems, or pneumonia. This is called tracheoesophageal fistula (say "TRAYK-ee-oh-uh-sof-uh-JEE-ul FIST-yoo-luh"). It's often called TEF.
EA and TEF often happen together. They are congenital conditions. This means your baby was born with them.
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Current as of: February 7, 2017
Thomas M. Bailey, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Jennifer Merchant, MD - Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
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