Feeding Problems and Their Underlying Mechanisms in the Esophageal Atresia-Tracheoesophageal Fistula Patient.

27 June 2017


Feeding difficulties such as dysphagia, coughing, choking, or vomiting during meals, slow eating, oral aversion, food refusal, and stressful mealtimes are common in children with repaired esophageal atresia (EA) and the reasons for this are often multifactorial. The aim of this review is to describe the possible underlying mechanisms contributing to feeding difficulties in patients with EA and approaches to management. Underlying mechanisms for these feeding difficulties include esophageal dysphagia, oropharyngeal dysphagia and aspiration, and aversions related to prolonged gastrostomy tube feeding. The initial diagnostic evaluation for feeding difficulties in a patient with EA may involve an esophagram, videofluoroscopic imaging or fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation during swallowing, upper endoscopy with biopsies, pH-impedance testing, and/or esophageal motility studies. The main goal of management is to reduce the factors contributing to feeding difficulties and may include reducing esophageal stasis, maximizing reflux therapies, treating underlying lung disease, dilating strictures, and altering feeding methods, routes, or schedules.


aspiration; esophageal atresia; feeding difficulties; impedance testing; oropharyngeal dysphagia; tracheoesophageal fistula; videofluoroscopic swallow study

Front Pediatr. 2017 May 31;5:127. doi: 10.3389/fped.2017.00127. eCollection 2017.

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