Stories about: Esophageal and Airway Treatment Center

Harper’s bright future after care for esophageal atresia

Harper smiles at her appointment for esophageal atresia
PHOTOS: MICHAEL GODERRE/BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

At age 4, Harper Robinson doesn’t really remember most of the clinicians who helped change her life — but that doesn’t stop her from greeting Dr. Russell Jennings with a big smile at a recent appointment. “Whenever Harper had surgery, he would cut her dressings into the shape of a heart,” says her mom, Jessica, of Jennings, surgical director of the Esophageal and Airway Treatment (EAT) Center at Boston Children’s Hospital.

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Noisy breathing? It could be tracheomalacia

doctor examines boy with tracheomalacia
IMAGE: ADOBE STOCK

DJ is at his pediatrician’s office with his third bout of pneumonia this year. Katie wants to play soccer, but gasps for air when she exerts herself. Sarah’s parents have learned CPR because she has stopped breathing so many times. Although these kids appear to have very different problems, they all have one underlying cause: tracheomalacia.

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A force to be reckoned with: Treatment for tracheomalacia helps Kate breathe easier

Kate is breathing easier after treatment for tracheomalacia

She’s only 8 years old, but Kate Elliott recently got a bit of an extreme makeover, donating 10 inches of her long sandy brown hair to the charity Locks of Love. Not only was she eager to see her tresses go to benefit a child in need, but she was also ready for a big change herself. “I want a whole new me,” she explained to her parents, Kristy and Todd.

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Esophageal atresia: Sorting fact from fiction

esophageal atresia

Will a diagnosis of esophageal atresia affect my child’s weight? Are recurrent respiratory infections normal? How long should my child stay on proton-pump inhibitors?

As the patient coordinator for the Esophageal and Airway Treatment Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, Dori Gallagher, RN, fields questions like these every day from patients around the world concerned about their children with esophageal atresia. In this condition, a baby is born without part of the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach). Instead of forming a tube between the mouth and the stomach, the esophagus grows in two separate segments that do not connect. Without a working esophagus, it’s impossible to receive enough nutrition by mouth. Babies with esophageal atresia are also more prone to infections like pneumonia and conditions such as acid reflux.

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