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J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg. 2019 Oct-Dec;24(4):281-284. doi: 10.4103/jiaps.JIAPS_184_18.

Prediction of Gap Length by Plain Radiograph of Chest with Nasogastric Tube in the Upper Esophagus in Patients with Esophageal Atresia and Distal Tracheoesophageal Fistula.

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Department of Pediatric Surgery, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Associated Kalawati Saran Children's Hospital, New Delhi, India.



This study was aimed at prediction of the gap length between the two esophageal ends in cases of esophageal atresia and distal tracheoesophageal fistula (EA-TEF) by preoperative radiography with a nasogastric tube in the upper esophagus and its correlation with intraoperatively measured gap length.

Materials and Methods:

All consecutive cases of EA-TEF were prospectively included in this study. Plain radiographs were taken with an 8 Fr nasogastric tube inserted in the upper esophageal pouch till its arrest. The patients were grouped into T1-T2; T2-T3; T3-T4; and T4 groups depending on the thoracic vertebral level of arrest of the NG tube on the radiograph. Intraoperative gap between the two esophageal ends was measured with Vernier caliper, and the patients were grouped into A, B, and C groups based on gap length (gap length >2.1 cm; >1-≤2 cm; and ≤1 cm). The operative gap groups were compared with the radiography groups.


A total number of 118 cases were included over a period of 3 years. The arrest of nasogastric tube at T1-T2 and T2-T3 vertebral level corresponded to gap length Group A in 39/41 (95.12%) * patients. In gap length Group B, the arrest of tube at T2-T3 and T3-T4 vertebral level was seen in 44/44 (100%)* patients, in gap length Group C, the arrest of tube was noted at T3-T4 and T4 vertebral level in 31/33 (93.93%)* patients (*P < 0.001).


Prediction of gap length by vertebral level of arrest of the nasogastric tube in the upper pouch in a preoperative chest X-ray correlated well with intra operatively measured gap length in cases of EA-TEF.


Esophageal atresia; gap length; tracheoesophageal fistula

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