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Delayed presentation of a baby with an oesophageal atresia on day 14 of life
  1. Corne De Vos1,
  2. Charlie Kohler1,
  3. Natash Fourie1 and
  4. Pierre Goussard2
  1. 1 Division of Paediatric Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
  2. 2 Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to Professor Pierre Goussard; pgouss{at}


Delayed presentation of oesophageal atresia (OA) with a tracheo-oesophageal fistula (TOF) is rare. Only a few case reports and two larger case series have been published. We present a neonate who was referred to our unit on day 14 of life with a missed OA and a TOF, having survived without any feeds or total parenteral nutrition up until referral.

We concluded that although such a delayed presentation is rare and avoidable, it does occur. This case highlights the necessity of good feedback to the referral hospitals with education on how to prevent this from recurring again. It also emphasises the necessity of a comprehensive clinical examination of all newborn babies. A high index of suspicion for OA with or without a TOF is essential in all babies with clinical drooling, feeding problems (from the first feed) and/or respiratory symptoms especially if combined with antenatal polyhydramnios.

  • radiology (diagnostics)
  • paediatrics (drugs and medicines)
  • respiratory system
  • neonatal intensive care
  • paediatrics

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  • Contributors CDV, CK and NF were responsible for the surgical treatment. PG was the paediatric pulmonologist involved with the case. All authors were involved in writing the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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