Esophageal atresia is an abnormality, or birth defect, of the esophagus that occurs early in pregnancy, as the baby is developing. The esophagus forms in the first few months of fetal life as a long, hollow, continuous tube joining the mouth to the stomach. In newborns with this birth defect, formation of this continuous esophageal tube is interrupted.
esophageal-artresia-2In most cases, two separate tubes are formed, an upper (proximal) tube connected to the mouth and a lower (distal) tube connected to the stomach. This seperated tubes are sealed off creating a pouch on either side; the gap between these pounches can be short or very long. Saliva can accumulate in the upper pouch as it cannot drain into the stomach.