Passage of feeding catheters into the pleural space: a radiographic sign of trauma to the pharynx and esophagus in the newborn

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1977 Jan;128(1):19-22. doi: 10.2214/ajr.128.1.19.


Although rarely recognized, traumatic pharyngeal and cervical esophageal pseudodiverticula are probably not infrequent in newborns who have undergone vigorous oropharyngeal suctioning and endotracheal intubation. This report describes four premature infants with clinically unsuspected retroesophageal false passages incidentally discovered on chest radiographs. Differentiation of pseudodiverticula from spontaneous rupture of the middle or distal esophagus can be achieved by careful inspection of the course of the feeding catheter in frontal and lateral projections and by partial withdrawal of the catheter to permit injection of the retroesophageal false passage with a small volume of water-soluble contrast material.

MeSH terms

  • Catheterization / adverse effects*
  • Enteral Nutrition / adverse effects*
  • Esophagus / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Infant, Premature
  • Pharynx / injuries*
  • Pleura* / diagnostic imaging
  • Radiography