How is tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF) usually diagnosed?

Updated: Nov 07, 2018
  • Author: Sat Sharma, MD, FRCPC; Chief Editor: Vinay Kumar Kapoor, MBBS, MS, FRCS, FAMS  more...
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Answer

Most patients with TEFs are diagnosed immediately following birth or during infancy. TEFs are often associated with life-threatening complications, so they are usually diagnosed in the neonatal period. In rare cases, patients with a congenital TEF may present in adulthood.

Acquired TEFs occur secondary to malignant disease, infection (especially tuberculosis), ruptured diverticula, and trauma. Postintubation TEFs uncommonly occur following prolonged mechanical ventilation with an endotracheal or tracheostomy tube.


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