Long-term complications of congenital esophageal atresia and/or tracheoesophageal fistula

Chest. 2004 Sep;126(3):915-25. doi: 10.1378/chest.126.3.915.


Congenital esophageal atresia (EA) and/or tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF) are common congenital anomalies. Respiratory and GI complications occur frequently, and may persist lifelong. Late complications of EA/TEF include tracheomalacia, a recurrence of the TEF, esophageal stricture, and gastroesophageal reflux. These complications may lead to a brassy or honking-type cough, dysphagia, recurrent pneumonia, obstructive and restrictive ventilatory defects, and airway hyperreactivity. Aspiration should be excluded in children and adults with a history of EA/TEF who present with respiratory symptoms and/or recurrent lower respiratory infections, to prevent chronic pulmonary disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Esophageal Atresia / complications*
  • Esophageal Stenosis / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Pneumonia, Aspiration / etiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / etiology
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Tracheal Diseases / etiology
  • Tracheoesophageal Fistula / complications*
  • Tracheoesophageal Fistula / congenital*