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Choanal Atresia


Choanal Atresia, a congenital condition, is characterized by blocking or narrowing of the either 1 or both nasal cavities. Statistically, 1 out of 7000-8000 live births is affected from the condition. Females are more prone towards the condition. Choanal Atresia is considered as one of the most common nasal abnormalities among newborn babies.

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Researchers are not able to determine actual cause of the disorder. Still, it is believed that the condition is a result of abnormal separation of mouth and the nose area that took place during fetal development. A point necessary to disclose is that the condition gets diagnosed shortly after child birth. And because disorder gets diagnosed timely, corrective actions are taken accordingly. It is commonly seen that if newborn infant is affected from Choanal Atresia, then he is likely to get affected from other abnormalities like mental retardation, heart defects, growth impairment, etc.

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Signs & Symptoms

It is worth disclosing fact that one (unilateral) or both sides (bilateral) of the nasal airways get affected from the condition. Bilateral Choanal Atresia show symptoms like acute breathing problems, breathing failure (in newborn infants). In some cases, infants suffering from the bilateral Choanal Atresia by birth may require resuscitation during the times of delivery. Unilateral condition causes fewer problems and commonly, infants suffer from unilateral condition. Some of the common symptoms of the condition include:

  • Inability to breathe and nurse at the same time
  • Chest retracts unless and until child is crying or breathing through mouth
  • Persistent nasal discharge or blockage of one side.
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Being considered as congenital condition, no prevention exists of the condition.  

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Conservative Treatment Modern Medicine

If a baby is suffering from congenital Choanal Atresia, then most common concern is to immediately resuscitate the baby. And for this, an oral airway is inserted into the mouth.

Surgery Modern Medicine

In some severe cases, the disorder is treated by tracheostomy or intubation. Although, surgery is needed to treat the condition permanently, it surgery may be delayed if a child learns how to breathe through mouth. Surgery helps in removing the obstruction that eventually results in curing the problem completely. Surgery is done either through the mouth (transpalatal) or through the nose (transnasal).

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