Which clinical history is characteristic of tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF)?

Updated: Nov 07, 2018
  • Author: Sat Sharma, MD, FRCPC; Chief Editor: Vinay Kumar Kapoor, MBBS, MS, FRCS, FAMS  more...
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Esophageal atresia in the fetus should be considered as a cause of maternal polyhydramnios. Absence of stomach gas on prenatal ultrasonography is another indication of esophageal atresia.

Neonates with esophageal atresia usually develop copious, fine white frothy bubbles of mucus in the mouth and nose. Secretions recur despite suctioning.

Infants may develop rattling respiration and episodes of coughing and choking in association with cyanosis.

Symptoms worsen during feeding in the presence of a tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF).

The symptoms induced by malignant TEFs are cough, aspiration (especially on swallowing liquids), and fever. The average duration of symptoms from onset to diagnosis is approximately 12 days.

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