We are proud to share news of a non-surgical procedure for babies with esophageal atresia pioneered by Dr. Mario Zaritzky. As reported by local news, WRAL,
"Eight-week-old Annalise Dapo will leave WakeMed this weekend and go to her Youngsville home for the first time thanks to a procedure performed for the first time in the U.S. to repair her esophagus.
Annalise was born missing about one-third of her esophagus, meaning she couldn't eat or even swallow saliva because her throat and stomach weren't connected. The condition, known as esophageal atresia, affects about one in 80,000 infants.
Surgery has traditionally been the only way to repair the problem until Dr. Mario Zaritzky, a pediatric radiologist with the University of Chicago Medicine, developed a magnet-based procedure. Magnets are inserted into the upper and lower ends of the esophagus, and they pull the two ends together over the course of a week so the tissue can fuse together properly.
WakeMed pediatric surgeon Dr. David Hoover performed the procedure on Annalise on March 30 – Zaritzky flew in from Chicago as a consultant – with one magnet going down her throat and the other inserted through her stomach by way of the feeding tube she has used to eat since she was born. The magnets were removed on Monday after her esophagus was successfully repaired."