Symptoms & Signs
- Bluish coloration to the skin (cyanosis) with attempted feedings
- Coughing, gagging, and choking with attempted feeding
- Poor feeding
Diagnosis & Tests
Before birth, an ultrasound performed on the pregnant mother may show too much amniotic fluid, which can be a sign of esophageal atresia or other blockage of the digestive tract.
The disorder is usually detected shortly after birth when feeding is attempted and the infant coughs, chokes, and turns blue. As soon as the diagnosis is suspected, an attempt to pass a small feeding tube through the mouth or nose into the stomach should be made. The feeding tube will not be able to pass all the way to the stomach in a baby with esophageal atresia.
An x-ray of the esophagus shows an air-filled pouch and air in the stomach and intestine. If a feeding tube has been inserted, it will appear coiled up in the upper esophagus.
Review Date : 9/14/2009
Reviewed By : 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.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.