The immediate concern is to resuscitate the baby if necessary. An airway may need to be placed so that the infant can breathe. In some cases, intubation or tracheostomy may be needed.
An infant can learn to mouth breathe, which can delay the need for immediate surgery.
Surgery to remove the obstruction cures the problem. Surgery may be delayed if the infant can tolerate mouth breathing. The surgery may be done through the nose (transnasal) or through the mouth (transpalatal).
Full recovery is expected.
Possible complications include:
- Aspiration while feeding and attempting to breathe through the mouth
- Respiratory arrest
- Renarrowing of the area after surgery
Calling Your Health Care Provider
Choanal atresia, especially when it affects both sides, is generally diagnosed shortly after birth while the infant is still in the hospital. One-sided atresia may not cause symptoms, and the infant may be sent home without a diagnosis.
If your infant has any of the problems listed here, consult your health care provider. The child may need to be checked by an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist.
Choanal atresia : Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Choanal atresia : Symptoms & Signs, Diagnosis & Tests
Choanal atresia : Treatment
Review Date : 8/7/2009
Reviewed By : 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.