How to Treat Oesophageal Atresia?

  • January 03, 2024
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How to Treat Oesophageal Atresia?

What is Oesophageal Atresia?

Oesophageal atresia is a congenital anomaly affecting the esophagus, the tube that facilitates the passage of food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. This condition results from abnormal fetal esophageal development, causing either a shortened or blocked structure and separating the upper and lower segments. Factors, influenced by genetics and the environment during fetal development, contribute to the complexity of oesophageal atresia. This congenital anomaly presents challenges in feeding and digestion, underscoring the need for timely and comprehensive intervention to address these developmental abnormalities.

Why Does Oesophageal Atresia Occur?

The precise etiology of oesophageal atresia is not always clear, but it is believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some cases are associated with genetic syndromes, such as trisomy 18 and the VACTERL association. Maternal factors, including age and exposure to certain medications during pregnancy, have also been considered potential contributors. The complexity of the condition suggests that multiple factors may interact, disrupting the normal development of the esophagus.

How Does Oesophageal Atresia Manifest?

Oesophageal atresia becomes evident shortly after birth, as affected infants face challenges in feeding and may exhibit various symptoms:

  1. Difficulty Swallowing: Newborns with oesophageal atresia may struggle with swallowing, and attempts at feeding may result in immediate regurgitation of milk or formula.
  2. Excessive Salivation: Due to the blockage or shortening of the esophagus, saliva cannot pass through as usual, leading to excessive drooling or salivation.
  3. Cyanosis: Respiratory distress may occur, causing a bluish discoloration of the skin (cyanosis) due to the inability to effectively pass air and oxygen through the esophagus.
  4. Abdominal Distension: The abdomen may become distended as a result of the accumulation of swallowed air in the stomach, contributing to discomfort and further complicating feeding efforts.