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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Atresia \A*tre"si*a\, n. [NL., fr. Gr. ? not perforated.] (Med.) Absence or closure of a natural passage or channel of the body; imperforation.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"occlusion of a natural passage in the body," 1807, from Modern Latin atresia, from Greek atretos "not perforated," from a-, privative prefix, + tresis "perforation," from PIE *tere- (1) "to rub, turn," with derivatives referring to boring and drilling (see throw (v.)).


n. (context pathology English) A condition in which a body orifice or passage in the body is abnormally closed or absent.


n. an abnormal condition in which a normal opening or tube in the body (as the urethra) is closed or absent


Atresia is a condition in which an orifice or passage in the body is (usually abnormally) closed or absent.

Examples of atresia include:

  • Imperforate anus, malformation of the opening between the rectum and anus.
  • Microtia, absence of the ear canal or failure of the canal to be tubular or fully formed (can be related to Microtia, a congenital deformity of the pinna, or outer ear).
  • Biliary atresia, a condition in newborns in which the common bile duct between the liver and the small intestine is blocked or absent.
  • Choanal atresia, blockage of the back of the nasal passage, usually by abnormal bony or soft tissue.
  • Esophageal atresia, which affects the alimentary tract and causes the esophagus to end before connecting normally to the stomach.
  • Intestinal atresia, malformation of the intestine, usually resulting from a vascular accident in utero.
  • Ovarian follicle atresia, the degeneration and subsequent resorption of one or more immature ovarian follicles.
  • Pulmonary atresia, malformation of the pulmonary valve in which the valve orifice fails to develop.
  • Tricuspid atresia, a form of congenital heart disease whereby there is a complete absence of the tricuspid valve, and consequently an absence of the right atrioventricular connection.
  • Vaginal atresia, a congenital occlusion of the vagina or subsequent adhesion of the walls of the vagina, resulting in its occlusion.
  • Renal agenesis, only having one kidney.
  • Potter sequence, congenital decreased size of the kidney leading absolutely no functionality of the kidney, usually related to a single kidney.

Usage examples of "atresia".

The commonly associated defects are: More or less completely septate bladder, atresia ani, or more rarely double anus, double urethra, increased breadth of the bony pelvis with defect of the symphysis pubis, and possibly duplication of the lower end of the spine, and hernia of some of the abdominal contents into a perineal pouch.

Cayley, Smith, Sourrouille, and Stankiewiez of Warsaw discuss atresia of the mouth.

Anorectal atresia is the ordinary imperforation of the anus, in which the rectum terminates in the middle of the sacral cavity.

Hulke reports a case of congenital atresia of the vagina in a brunette of twenty, menstruation occurring through the urethra.

He also mentions the instance of congenital atresia of the vagina with hernia of both ovaries into the left groin in a servant of twenty, and the case of an imperforate vagina in a girl of nineteen with an undeveloped uterus.

Arand mentions recovery after atresia of the anus with passage of excrement from the vulva.

Lacerations of the urethra from urethral coitus in instances of vaginal atresia or imperforate hymen may also excite serious hemorrhage.

When I was working in pediatrics, we had a little girl who had biliary atresia, which is usually a fatal-type thing.