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Treatment of congenital subglottic hemangiomas: our experience compared with reports in the literature

Roberto Saetti, Marina Silvestrini, Cesare Cutrone, Surendra Narne
Archives of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery 2008, 134 (8): 848-51

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the outcome of our experience in the treatment of congenital subglottic hemangiomas.

DESIGN: Retrospective review of records.

SETTING: Airway tertiary care service.

PATIENTS: From 1986 to 2006 we treated 39 pediatric patients affected by congenital subglottic hemangiomas.

INTERVENTION: Therapeutic choice depended on presentation symptoms and grade of respiratory obstruction: 6 patients were primarily treated with only systemic steroids; 11 patients underwent intralesional corticosteroid injections followed by tracheal intubation and systemic steroid support; and 22 patients underwent primary diode laser treatment.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: The outcomes were evaluated according to 1 or more of the following criteria: resolution of symptoms, reduction of airway obstruction, the need and duration of intubation, tracheotomy decannulation, need of further treatments, and occurrence of complications.

RESULTS: Patients treated with only systemic steroids showed a success rate of 50% (3 of 6); patients who underwent intralesional corticosteroid injections followed by tracheal intubation and systemic steroid support reached a positive result in 73% of cases (8 of 11). On the whole, 18% of patients treated with full-dose systemic steroids developed significant adverse effects (3 of 17). The success rate was 95% among patients treated with diode laser as primary treatment (21 of 22), with a complication rate of 9% (2 of 22).

CONCLUSIONS: Endoscopic laser surgery is the therapeutic option that most approaches the objectives of securing the airway while using the least invasive method possible and reducing to a minimum the necessity and duration of intubation. On the basis of our experience, we believe that diode laser, owing to its physical and structural features, is the safest and most effective device for the treatment of congenital subglottic hemangiomas. Treatment with intralesional or systemic corticosteroids could have an adjuvant role.

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