A tracheoesophageal fistula is an opening between your child’s trachea and esophagus. The trachea is your child’s windpipe. The windpipe is the airway that leads from the throat to the lungs. The esophagus is the tube that carries food from your child’s throat to his stomach. The esophagus and the trachea are next to each other in the back of the throat and chest, but normally they are not connected.
This condition is usually found right after birth. It usually is seen with another condition called esophageal atresia. Esophageal atresia means that your child’s esophagus is not connected to his stomach as it should be.
Most of the time, the cause of tracheoesophageal fistula and esophageal atresia is not known. They are called congenital birth defects, which means that the baby has the conditions at birth. Sometimes babies with tracheoesophageal fistula and esophageal atresia also have other problems with the heart, the bowel, the muscles and bones, or the urinary tract. This condition affects both boys and girls.
Your child’s symptoms may include:
Your child’s healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and examine him. Tests may include:
The treatment is surgery. At the same time, your child’s healthcare provider may repair his esophagus by attaching it to his stomach, which is to fix the esophageal atresia. Your child may need more than one surgery, and he may need a feeding tube for nutrition while he heals or waits for more surgery.
Follow the full course of treatment prescribed by your child’s healthcare provider.
Ask your child’s provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.