Pre- and post-operative visualization of neonatal esophageal atresia/tracheoesophageal fistula via magnetic resonance imaging

J Pediatr Surg Case Rep. 2018 Feb;29:5-8. doi: 10.1016/j.epsc.2017.10.001. Epub 2017 Oct 3.


Esophageal atresia (EA) is a relatively uncommon congenital anomaly, often observed in conjunction with tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF). Surgical repair in neonates typically takes place with little information about the pre-existing EA/TEF structure because there are currently no acceptable tools for evaluating EA/TEF anatomy prior to repair; chest x-ray radiograph does not identify malformation sub-type or gap length, while x-ray computed tomography (CT) demonstrate an unacceptably high exposure to ionizing radiation. There is a need for safe imaging methods to evaluate pre-operative EA/TEF anatomy, which would add value in surgical planning; this need may be met with high-resolution structural MRI. We report three cases of Type-C EA/TEF in neonates. Patients were imaged prior to surgical repair using high-resolution ultrashort echo time (UTE) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to visualize tracheoesophageal anatomy and allow for informed surgical planning and risk management. One of the three patients was imaged post-repair to evaluate surgical efficacy and evolution of the tracheoesophageal anatomy.

Keywords: esophageal atresia; neonatal MRI; surgical planning; tracheoesophageal fistula.