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Tracheoesophageal Fistula

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is a tracheoesophageal fistula?

A tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF) is an abnormal connection between your trachea and esophagus. Your trachea brings air into your lungs. Your esophagus carries food from your mouth to your stomach. A TEF can cause food to pass from your esophagus into your trachea and lungs. This can cause breathing problems or infections, such as pneumonia.

What causes a TEF?

TEF may be caused by an injury to the neck or chest. A mechanical ventilation or a tracheostomy tube placement can cause TEF. Tumors, infections, or nasogastric tube placement may also cause TEF. Sometimes a child is born with TEF.

What are the signs and symptoms of a TEF?

The signs and symptoms of TEF depend on the size of the fistula. Your signs may be different if you are on a ventilator. You may have one or more of the following:

How is a TEF diagnosed?

How is a TEF treated?

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

Care Agreement

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