Diagnosis of Esophageal Atresia

In some cases, your child’s doctor will use a prenatal (pregnancy) ultrasound to diagnose esophageal atresia before birth. If symptoms appear after birth, your child’s doctor may use one or more of the following tests to confirm EA:

  • Blood test. The doctor may check a sample of your child’s blood for bilirubin (an orange-yellow pigment) and signs of liver disease.
  • Ultrasound. This imaging test uses sound waves to create detailed pictures of your child’s chest, including the heart and lungs.
  • X-ray. This common imaging test creates detailed pictures of your child’s chest and abdomen to check for air in the stomach and determine the feeding tube's depth if needed.

Treatments for Esophageal Atresia

If your child has EA, our team of experts will review their condition and develop a unique care plan, which may require surgery shortly after birth to connect to the two ends of the esophagus. During the procedure, your child’s surgeon will repair the esophagus through an incision made in the chest. They will place a feeding tube in your baby’s esophagus (anastomosis), so they can feed immediately after surgery. After one week, using a contrast dye, the surgeon will check to see if the repair is healing well before removing the feeding tube. At that point, your baby can start to feed by mouth. Surgeons perform this procedure as soon as possible to reduce lung damage and ensure your baby can feed successfully.

If the two parts of the esophagus are too far apart, the surgeon may decide to wait and allow the esophagus to grow before surgery. Your child may have their esophagus widened to stretch the upper pouch leading up to surgery.

Preparation for surgery

Before undergoing surgery, your baby will likely need intravenous (IV) feeding. Your baby’s neonatal care team will provide specific instructions and support for this process. You will also receive special post-surgical care instructions.

Request an Appointment

Contact an Orlando Health doctor

If you suspect that your child may have esophageal artesia, make an appointment with an Orlando Health pediatrician today so your child can start on the road to improved health.