Atretic esophagus: transgastric balloon-assisted hydrostatic dilation

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Department of Radiology

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Anastomosis, Surgical; Balloon Dilatation; Esophageal Atresia; Humans; Infant, Newborn; Male


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Esophageal atresia may be associated with a long interval or gap between the upper and lower pouches. Despite a variety of procedures to elongate the esophagus, surgeons have been unable to achieve esophageal continuity in many patients. Three infants with esophageal atresia and long gaps recently underwent hydrostatic dilation of the distal esophageal pouch followed by primary anastomosis. The technique entailed passing a balloon-tipped catheter through a gastrostomy site to the distal esophageal pouch. The balloon was inflated to a diameter sufficient to occlude the distal esophagus. Dilute contrast material was then infused under fluoroscopic visualization to a maximal pressure of 145 cm H2O. Dilations were performed daily over a 2-week period, followed by surgery. Primary anastomosis was accomplished in all patients. The promising results in these patients should stimulate other investigators to assess this technique in infants with this challenging surgical problem.


Radiology. 1989 Jun;171(3):831-3.

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