Airway and Esophageal Center

All Articles in the Category ‘Airway and Esophageal Center’

New TEF/EA Clinic in the Airway and Esophageal Center

A new program for children with tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF) and esophageal atresia (EA) is now part of the hospital’s Airway and Esophageal Center that opened earlier this year.

TEF and EA services are not new to Seattle Children’s but are now integrated within a multidisciplinary program that offers expanded clinic hours and assistance from a program coordinator who helps families experience the best journey and outcomes possible. The TEF/EA Program provides not just surgery but also comprehensive follow-up care throughout childhood until patients transition to adult care.  It is the only program of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.

What to look for: Symptoms of TEF and EA in babies

  • TEF and EA: Breathing problems and coughing or choking when the baby tries to swallow. The symptoms show up right after birth.
  • TEF only: Severe coughing or choking when the baby tries to swallow, usually after feeding. Some babies may have trouble breathing while feeding. If the patient has TEF alone, it may be weeks or months after birth before TEF is diagnosed as the cause of symptoms.  
  • EA only: The baby is not swallowing their saliva, is drooling a lot or has foamy mucus in their mouth or nose. Most often, EA alone is diagnosed before or right after birth.


See our new Case Study: Tracheoesophageal Fistula (1.5-Year-Old Patient with Difficult Swallowing and Recurrent Respiratory Infections).

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New Airway and Esophageal Center Offers Coordinated, Multidisciplinary Team Care That Is Unique in the Northwest

Seattle Children’s is proud to announce the opening of a new Airway and Esophageal Center serving babies, children and teens through age 20. The center provides seamless, multidisciplinary care from a highly experienced team of experts for patients who have complex conditions affecting their airway, breathing and swallowing.

“Due to these patients’ complexity and need for care from many different specialists throughout their childhood, it’s essential they receive well-coordinated care from experts who are working as an integrated team and communicating regularly,” says Dr. Jake Dahl, an otolaryngologist at the center. “We have created the Airway and Esophageal Center expressly for that purpose, with care coordination and wraparound services built in to ensure our patients don’t just survive, they thrive.”

This highest level of continuous, comprehensive specialty care for children with challenging airway and esophageal issues is unique to Seattle Children’s regionally and hard to find even nationally.

Multidisciplinary Care

The Airway and Esophageal Center team includes experts from many Seattle Children’s specialties: otolaryngology, gastroenterology, pulmonology, sleep medicine, maxillofacial surgery, pediatric surgery, anesthesiology, speech and language pathology, nutrition, feeding therapy, social work, nursing, newborn critical care and pediatric intensive care. Read full post »

Common Concerns With Infant Feeding and Swallowing: A Q&A With Robin Glass, MS, OTR, IBCLC

Robin Glass is an occupational therapist and lactation consultant at Seattle Children’s with over 40 years of experience. She also holds a clinical faculty appointment in the Occupational Therapy Program at the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Washington. In addition to her patient care on the Infant Team serving inpatient and outpatient infants <1 year old, she is a national and international speaker on infant feeding and swallowing. She has numerous publications, including the seminal book Feeding and Swallowing Disorders in Infancy: Assessment and Management with co-author Lynn Wolf. She was a 2015 recipient of the National Association of Neonatal Therapists Pioneer award and received the 2018 Dr. Nancy Danoff Spirit of Service award from the Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington and Nutrition First.


Primary care providers (PCPs) frequently encounter questions from parents regarding their infants’ feeding. PCPs also observe issues with growth that may result from feeding difficulties. In a brief office visit, providers may find it challenging to identify infant feeding and swallowing disorders. In this article, Seattle Children’s occupational therapist and lactation consultant Robin Glass addresses common concerns PCPs might see related to infant feeding and swallowing difficulties and describes methods of evaluation and treatment. She also offers guidance on referring to a Seattle Children’s specialist.

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