Choanal Atresia

Choanal atresia is a common cause of nasal obstruction in children but can also be seen in adults. If bilateral, it manifests shortly after birth as an airway emergency, because neonates are "obligate nasal breathers" and cannot tolerate nasal obstruction. Typically they will oxygenate well while crying but will become cyanotic when crying stops and they cannot feed. This condition requires urgent ENT consultation. The airway is stabilized and the atresia repaired shortly thereafter. If unilateral, the atresia can go undiagnosed until later in childhood or even adulthood. The patient will report a lifelong history of nasal obstruction and rhinorrhea. Diagnosis is made with endoscopy and CT. Treatment is surgical.

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