JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Clinical spectrum of congenital cystic disease of the lung in children.

OBJECTIVES: Congenital cystic lesions of the lung are uncommon but share similar embryologic and clinical characteristics. The purpose of this study is to review our institutional experience of congenital cystic lung disease, emphasizing the clinical spectrum of the disease related to age, and present some cases with unusual clinical manifestations.

PATIENTS: Between 1962 and 1996, 26 patients (9 females and 17 males) under 15 years old underwent evaluation and surgical treatment for congenital cystic lung disease. Seven patients were under 1 year old, and 19 were in over 1 year old. There were 13 bronchogenic pulmonary cysts, 6 pulmonary sequestrations, 4 congenital cystic adenomatoid malformations (CCAM), and 3 congenital lobar emphysemas.

RESULTS: All patients under 1 year old showed respiratory distress with mediastinal shift but no episodes of infection. In contrast, 13 of the 19 patients over 1 year old had symptoms of recurrent infection without respiratory distress. Five patients over 1 year old were entirely asymtomatic from birth. There were significant differences (P < 0.05) in the frequencies of respiratory distress and infection between the two groups (chi2-test). Lobectomy was performed in 21 patients, excision in 3 patients, segmentectomy in one patient, and exploration in one patient. There was no incident of postoperative mortality or morbidity except for one patient with CCAM complicated by reexpansion lung edema. Twenty-one patients at long-term follow-up from 2 to 30 years after surgery are doing well with no subsequent limitation of physical activities due to lung resection.

CONCLUSIONS: In patients under 1 year old, cystic lesions were discovered by respiratory distress; and in patients over 1 year old signs of infection were the most important clinical features. Early recognition of these relatively rare congenital cystic lung lesions would lead to the immediate, proper surgical intervention.

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