EA/TEF Awareness Month

January is Esophageal Atresia / Tracheoesophageal Fistula (EA/TEF) Awareness Month.

Definition
Esophageal Atresia (EA) is a birth defect (congenital anomaly) in which the esophagus, which connects the mouth to the stomach, is shortened and closed off (dead ended) at some point along its length. This defect almost always occurs in conjunction with Tracheoesophageal Fistula (TEF), a condition in which the esophagus is improperly attached to the trachea, the “windpipe” that carries air into the lungs. It is believed that these defects occur around the fourth week of pregnancy when the digestive tract is forming. There is no known cause for the defects. This affects approximately 1 in 4,500 babies.

Description
The digestive tract is unnecessary for fetal growth, since all nutrition comes from the mother through the placenta and umbilical cord. During fetal development, the esophagus and trachea arise from the same original tissue, forming into two side-by-side passageways, the esophagus leading from the throat to the stomach and digestive tract, and the trachea leading from the larynx to the lungs and respiratory system. Normally, the two tubes form separately (differentiate); however, in the case of EA/TEF, they do not differentiate, which results in various malformed configurations.

Complications
Postoperative complications may include difficulty swallowing, since the esophagus may not contract efficiently, strictures (scar tissue build up) at the surgery site, and gastrointestinal reflux, in which the acidic contents of stomach back up into the lower part of the esophagus, possibly causing ulcers.

Lucas’ Journey
Lucas has an EA/TEF Type C configuration which is Esophageal Atresia with Tracheoesophageal Fistula, in which the upper segment of the esophagus ends in a blind pouch (EA) and the lower segment of the esophagus is attached to the trachea (TEF). 86.5% of cases are this type. Below is a diagram of the different types of configurations.

Before the 20 week pregnancy ultrasound, we had never even heard of EA/TEF. Now, there is not a day that goes by that we don’t think of Lucas’ EA/TEF condition. Our lives are forever changed. But, we wouldn’t have it any other way. We know Lucas is our special blessing from the Lord. Our father knew we would do everything in our power to ensure Lucas has the best medical attention and care. As long as Lucas is smiling & continuing to make progress, then Bryan & I are happy.

image

image

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s