Surgical management of severe suprastomal cricotracheal collapse complicating pediatric tracheostomy

J L Antón-Pacheco, M Villafruela, M López, G García, C Luna, A Martínez
International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology 2008, 72 (2): 179-83

OBJECTIVE: Suprastomal tracheal collapse may interfere with decannulation in tracheostomized patients. The purposes of the study are to evaluate the role of tracheotomy technique in the ethiology of suprastomal cricotracheal collapse and to report our results in the treatment of this complication.

METHODS: A retrospective review of children showing severe suprastomal collapse during the period 1990-2007, in a tertiary care children's hospital, was performed. Medical records were assessed for the following data: sex, age, original indication for tracheotomy, surgical technique, endoscopic findings, type of surgical correction, complications, result, and follow-up.

RESULTS: Fourteen patients were included in the study, nine girls and five boys. Average age at tracheotomy was 17 months (range: 21 days-8 years), and prolonged ventilatory support was the most common indication (57%). Horizontal H-type tracheotomy was the most frequent technique in patients with suprastomal collapse (n=9), whereas only one patient with a vertical tracheotomy showed this complication (p<0.05). In every case bronchoscopy disclosed a suprastomal tracheal obstruction of at least 50% of the lumen. Mean age at surgical decannulation was 38 months (range: 12-147 months). Two surgical techniques have been used in the treatment of suprastomal collapse: anterior cricotracheal suspension (n=13) and reconstruction with autologous cartilage graft (n=1). All the patients were successfully decannulated although in one case two procedures were required. No recurrence has been observed during long-term follow-up (mean: 8.6 years).

CONCLUSIONS: Endoscopical examination is essential for the diagnosis of suprastomal collapse and to rule out other causes of decannulation failure. In our experience, the tracheotomy technique seems to have an ethiologic role, and anterior cricotracheal suspension is a simple and effective procedure in the treatment of this tracheostomy related complication.

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