Atresia (ah-TREE-zhah) is a condition in which a baby is born with a missing or closed valve or tube somewhere in his or her body.
Anal atresia (imperforate anus) is a defect of the digestive tract in which the opening to the anus is missing or blocked.
Air, blood, bodily fluids, and waste products travel throughout the body in a system of vessels, tubes, and chambers that are often separated by valves. When a child is born with atresia, it means that a valve is missing or a tube is closed off. This interrupts the normal flow of blood, fluid, waste, or air, which can lead to a number of complications.
Most kinds of atresia are serious and can be fatal if they go untreated. Treatment usually involves surgery while the child is still an infant.
Atresia can affect many body parts, including the nose, ears, organs, digestive tract, and heart. The types of atresia are named for the body parts they affect:
Most kinds of atresia can be treated successfully with surgery; some cases may require more than one operation.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|American College of Surgeons The website of the American College of Surgeons provides consumer information about common surgeries such as appendectomy.|
|American Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.|
|When Your Baby Has a Birth Defect If your child has a birth defect, you don't have to go it alone - lots of people and resources are available to help you.|
|Types of Anesthesia Here's a basic look at what each kind of anesthesia does.|
|When Your Baby Is Born With a Health Problem If you're expecting a baby, it's important to understand that certain health problems and complications can't be prevented, no matter how smoothly the pregnancy goes.|
|Preparing Your Child for Surgery Good preparation can help your child feel less anxious about getting surgery. Kids of all ages cope much better if they have an idea of what's going to happen and why.|
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