Tracheoesophageal Fistula and Esophageal Atresia

Tracheoesophageal fistula and esophageal atresia are congenital conditions, which means a baby is born with them. The two conditions often occur together, or a baby can be born with just one of these defects.

A tracheoesophageal fistula is an abnormal opening that develops early in fetal development between the esophagus (the muscular tube connecting the mouth to the stomach) and the trachea (the windpipe, which connects the mouth to the lungs).

Esophageal atresia is a condition in which the esophagus does not connect with the stomach. Two esophageal tubes form—one from the throat and the other from the stomach—but they do not meet in the middle.

Sometimes these problems are apparent at birth. Other times, tracheoesophageal fistula and esophageal atresia aren’t identified until you take the baby home and notice problems with feeding.

As many as 50 percent of babies with tracheoesophageal fistula and esophageal atresia have an additional birth defect.