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Choanal Atresia

Screening and Tests for Choanal Atresia

Screening for choanal atresia should begin at the first sign of symptoms. In the event the condition is bilateral – affecting both sides of the nasal airway – indications of the abnormality may appear during delivery with severe respiratory distress. In the majority of cases where the narrowing of the nasal passage occurs on only one side, tests for choanal atresia begin after observing breathing difficulty. Usually this occurs while the infant is still in the hospital, but some children display no significant symptoms and may be discharged without an immediate diagnosis. Parents of babies exhibiting any symptoms should report them to their pediatrician who may recommend screening and tests for choanal atresia.

How Is Choanal Atresia Diagnosed?

Tests for choanal atresia include:
• Attempting to pass a catheter through each side of the nose into the throat – the tissue will block the catheter
• Computed tomography (CT) scan which provides detailed images of the sinus area
• Endoscopy of the nose acquiring a visual image of the nasal airway by using a very small camera attached to a flexible tube
• Sinus x-ray to create an image of the air cavities at the front of the skull