Master Tracheoesophageal Fistula (TEF) with Picmonic for Nursing RN

With Picmonic, facts become pictures. We've taken what the science shows - image mnemonics work - but we've boosted the effectiveness by building and associating memorable characters, interesting audio stories, and built-in quizzing.

Tracheoesophageal Fistula (TEF)

Trachea-sarcophagus Fist-tunnel
Picmonic
A tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF) occurs when there is an abnormal connection between the trachea and esophagus. This condition is often associated with esophageal atresia, a birth defect in which the esophagus ends in a blind pouch, rather than connecting to the stomach. Newborns with a tracheoesophageal fistula may present with cyanosis, choking, coughing, and excessive drooling. Emergency surgery is needed to correct the abnormality between trachea and the esophagus. Newborns suspected of having this condition are immediately made NPO to prevent aspiration and to ensure that the patient’s airway remains patent. Because there is an abnormal connection between the trachea and esophagus, aspiration of food or fluids into the lungs may cause aspiration pneumonia.
9 KEY FACTS
CAUSE
Esophageal Atresia
Esophagus-sarcophagus Atresia-tree

Esophageal atresia is a birth defect in which the esophagus does not develop properly, causing the esophagus to end in a blind pouch, rather than connecting to the stomach. Esophageal atresia can occur with or without a tracheoesophageal fistula.

Ends in Blind Pouch
Ends in Blindfolded Pouch

Although there are several different types of esophageal atresia and tracheoesophageal fistula, the most common form occurs when the esophagus ends in a blind pouch instead of the stomach.

ASSESSMENT
Coughing
Coughing-coffee

A newborn with this condition may cough frequently as secretions from the esophagus enter the trachea through the fistula or abnormal connection.

Choking
Choking

Newborns with a tracheoesophageal fistula have an abnormal connection between the trachea and esophagus, which allows food or liquid from the esophagus to enter the newborn’s airway. This malformation can cause choking.

Cyanosis
Cyan-crayon

A newborn with a tracheoesophageal fistula may become cyanotic, especially during/after a feeding due to aspiration of fluid into the lungs.

Drooling
Drooling

A newborn that presents with large amounts of frothy sputum, or drool, are suspected of having this condition.

CONSIDERATIONS
NPO
NPO-zipper-mouth

Newborns who are suspected of having this condition are immediately made NPO, meaning that they cannot take anything by mouth - no breastfeeding and no formula. NPO precautions are initiated to prevent aspiration and to ensure that the newborn’s airway remains patent. Anticipate intravenous therapy to be initiated promptly.

Surgical Emergency
Emergency Surgeon

Surgery is needed to correct the abnormality between the trachea and the esophagus. This is imminently needed in order for proper respiration and GI function.

Aspiration Pneumonia
Aspirating-ass Spraying Water on Nude-Mona

Because there is an abnormal connection between the trachea and esophagus, food or liquids from the esophagus can enter the patient’s airway. Aspiration of food or fluids into the lungs may lead to aspiration pneumonia. Position infant supine with the head of the bed elevated on an inclined plane of at least 30 degrees.

Unlock all 9 facts & definitions with Picmonic Free!

JOIN FREE

Take the Tracheoesophageal Fistula (TEF) Quiz

Picmonic's rapid review multiple-choice quiz allows you to assess your knowledge.

START QUIZ NOW

It's worth every penny

Our Story Mnemonics Increase Mastery and Retention

Memorize facts with phonetic mnemonics

Unforgettable characters with concise but impactful videos (2-4 min each)

Ace Your Nursing (RN) Classes & Exams with Picmonic:

Over 870,000 students use Picmonic’s picture mnemonics to improve knowledge, retention, and exam performance.

Choose the #1 Nursing (RN) student study app.

Picmonic for Nursing (RN) covers information that is relevant to your entire Nursing (RN) education. Whether you’re studying for your classes or getting ready to conquer your NCLEX®-RN, Hesi, ATI, TEAS test, Kaplan exams, we’re here to help.

Works better than traditional Nursing (RN) flashcards.

Research shows that students who use Picmonic see a 331% improvement in memory retention and a 50% improvement in test scores.