HealthWACH: Magnet therapy

HealthWACH: Magnet therapy

COLUMBIA (WACH) - Esophageal atresia is a congenital defect in which the childâ??s esophagus does not develop in the right way. For most babies, it means they canâ??t eat. In most cases of esophageal atresia, the upper esophagus, instead of connecting to the lower esophagus which goes on to the windpipe and stomach, just ends. Other cases can involve simply the narrowing of the esophagus. Itâ??s estimated the defect occurs in about one out of every 4,000 births. Itâ??s also generally associated with other conditions as well, including tracheoesophageal fistula, heart problems, and other digestive tract complications.

The defect is considered a surgical emergency, and as such any of the signs need to be seen and reported as soon as possible. Some of the signs include:

  • Frothy bubbles in mouth

  • Blue color to the skin, especially when feeding

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Coughing or chocking during feeding

  • A round, full abdomen

  • â??The magnets are interesting because we could place them through her mouth and then threw her gastrostomy tube up the lower esophagus so that they would have their physical attraction for one another. They have to be within 4 centimeters in order to have that attraction. Fortunately her two pouches were still together so they didnâ??t have that much distance to overcome. They had about 7 millimeters, which is what we determined that they needed to overcome the wall of each respective esophageal pouch and scar tissue that had formed. And so really the way it works is it applies about 4 pounds of pressure between the magnets and that pressure over time gradually compresses the intervening tissue causes ischemia and within about 48 or 72 hours that ischemic tissue stuffs. Then a channel is created between the upper and the lower esophagus. So, really itâ??s quite straightforward, we donâ??t have to go back reopen her chest, we donâ??t have to dissect the esophagus. Probably most importantly is we donâ??t have to remove any esophagus that had been induced to grow from her initial operations. So, basically itâ??s a purely intraluminal way to canalize the esophagus without having to mobilize, reset, or jeopardize the integrity of the remaining esophagus.â??