Congenital choanal atresia

A. J. Maniglia, W. J. Goodwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Congenital choanal atresia is an uncommon malformation of the posterior nasal choana. Nasal breathing is innate, whereas mouth breathing is acquired. It takes about two weeks for the newborn to learn to breathe by mouth. Bilateral choanal atresia is a medical emergency. Unless it is recognized and treated promptly, the newborn usually dies of postnatal asphyxia. The incidence of choanal atresia is estimated to be 1 in 5000 live births. The female to male ratio is 2 to 1. The unilateral defect is more common, and there is a 2 to 1 ratio in favor of the right side. The atresia is bony in about 90 per cent of the cases and membranous in the remaining 10 per cent. It may be incomplete (choanal stenosis). Half the cases are associated with other anomalies such as craniofacial (cleft palate), Treacher Collins syndrome, branchial arch and cleft malformations), cardiovascular, and abdominal malformations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-173
Number of pages7
JournalOtolaryngologic Clinics of North America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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