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Esophageal Atresia Program

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The Esophageal Atresia Program at Connecticut Children’s cares for babies and children with esophageal atresia (EA), tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF), and associated conditions. Our experienced, multidisciplinary team provides a complete spectrum of care throughout your child’s EA journey, from birth through young adulthood.

With the right care, your child can live a full life with esophageal atresia. Our patient families take comfort in knowing our team has years of experience diagnosing and treating EA and TEF. We are dedicated to providing the best surgical care and helping children with EA learn to eat and grow. We will be there to help guide and support you and your child through any other medical or developmental issues that arise.

What are esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula?

Esophageal atresia is a rare condition in which the esophagus (the tube that joins the mouth to the stomach) does not connect to the stomach. This creates a blockage that prevents food and liquids from getting to the stomach. Babies born with EA need surgery soon after birth to fix the problem.

Many babies with EA also have TEF. This is an abnormal connection between the trachea (windpipe) and the esophagus. Normally, these tubes are side-by-side and separate from each other during development in the womb. But when a baby has TEF, part of the esophagus is connected to the trachea and most times the first part of the esophagus (from the mouth) does not connect with the second part of the esophagus (esophagus leading to the stomach) which prevents food and liquids from getting from the mouth to the stomach.

Babies born with EA and TEF are usually identified on prenatal tests.
After birth they may have:

  • breathing problems
  • feeding problems
  • drooling
  • coughing
  • choking

Conditions we treat

Our multidisciplinary team provides coordinated, state-of-the-art care for:

Why choose Connecticut Children’s?

We understand that every child with EA is unique. That’s why we personalize your care to meet your child’s individual needs, with the expertise to diagnose and treat even the most complex and severe cases. Our dedicated team of specialists will work with you and your family to provide a comprehensive, team-based approach that focuses on the specific needs of your child.

Here are just a few more reasons why families choose Connecticut Children’s for EA care:

  • State-of-the-art treatments. No matter how complex your child’s needs, our highly experienced team offers the most innovative procedures and treatments for all types of EA, including the Foker procedure for long gap EA as well as minimally invasive repairs and standard routine repairs.
  • Leaders in research. Our innovative team is always looking at ways to improve treatment for kids with EA, including new surgical options. We have an entire lab dedicated to researching new treatments for this condition.
  • Complete wraparound care. From prenatal consults, post-birth, and through young adulthood, we can provide all the care and services your child may need as they grow. Our multi-disciplinary team includes every expert your child may need throughout their EA journey, including needs including gastroenterology (GI), pulmonology, otolaryngology (ENT), nutrition, speech language pathology (SLP), genetics, and social work. We will also provide care for any associated conditions such as motility problems, heart conditions, VACTERL syndrome and colorectal problems such as imperforate anus.
  • Long-term surveillance. Our Long-Term Esophageal Surveillance Program will monitor your child to keep them healthy as they grow. We know that children with EA have an increased risk of esophagitis and, in rare cases, esophageal cancer. We’ve developed protocols and algorithms for lifelong care to find and treat these problems early.
  • Convenient, coordinated care close to home. Whether you live in Connecticut or greater New England, our coordinated clinic visits and combined surgeries make it easy for families to receive care from many specialists in one visit. For added convenience, our team also provides outpatient care at our satellite clinics or via telehealth.

On the Cutting Edge of Research

Our clinicians are researchers, too. The Finck Lab is dedicated to better understanding EA and finding new treatments for children and their families.

  • Our clinicians are currently developing an innovative treatment for EA that involves an implantable polyurethane scaffold that can bridge the longest of gaps in the esophagus using the patient’s own stem cells from small pieces of fat.
  • We are proud members of the Eastern Pediatric Surgery Network (EPSN), a group of pediatric surgeons dedicated to establishing best practices and improving outcomes for children who need surgery.

Two current studies we are leading for EPSN include:

  • Long gap EA study: Current options for surgical repair include delayed primary repair, the Foker procedure and other traction techniques, and esophageal replacement. This EPSN study is a retrospective and prospective data registry aimed at describing patient characteristics, management strategies and outcomes after surgical repair of long-gap esophageal atresia.
  • Esophageal atresia surveillance: Esophageal atresia is a congenital anomaly that affects one in 3,500 live births and is often associated with an increased cancer risk. Therefore, early screening interventions are necessary to identify, treat and prevent disease.

Connecticut Children’s is leading a multi-phase, multi-institutional study aimed to better understand current practice and disease in esophageal atresia surveillance while ultimately developing evidence-based practice guidelines to steer future practice. 

Patient Resources

If you’re the parent of a child with EA, you may have many questions and concerns. Your care team at Connecticut Children’s will be with you every step of the way to provide guidance and support. Please reach out to a member of your team whenever you have questions or concerns.

We understand that some parents may also want to learn more about EA on their own or connect with other families living with the condition. Here is a list of programs that you might find helpful.

General information and support groups:

Meet Our Esophageal Atresia Collaborative (EAC) Working Group

Esophageal atresia is a complex condition that can affect many systems in the body. Our extensive team reflects the many areas of care your child may need throughout their childhood and adolescence. Our EAC includes a core group of specialists that meet regularly to guide the standardization of quality and evidence-based patient care. 



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