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Bacterial tracheitis in pediatrics: 12 year experience at a medical center in Taiwan.

BACKGROUND: Bacterial tracheitis may cause life-threatening airway obstruction.

METHODS: Records of patients admitted to the pediatric wards of Mackay Memorial Hospital between 1994 and 2005 with a diagnosis of bacterial tracheitis made on bronchoscopic visualization of thick membranous tracheal secretions were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS: A total of 40 patients (aged 1 month-8 years, 29 [73%] under 3 years old) were included. Cough, fever, dyspnea, and hoarseness were the commonest symptoms. Fourteen patients (21%) required intubation. The most frequently isolated bacteriae were alpha-hemolytic streptococcus (in 11, 38%), pseudomonas (5, 17%), and Staphylococcus aureus (4, 14%). Intubation was more frequent in patients seen between 1994 and 1999 compared with those seen later (8/12 early vs 9/28 late). In the early period alpha-hemolytic streptococcus (55%) and pseudomonas (36%) were isolated. In the later period the most frequently isolated bacteria was alpha-hemolytic streptococcus (28%), followed by S. aureus (22%). No patients died, but those with pseudomonas infection had more severe complications, including tracheal stenosis. The average hospital stay in the early period was 26.2 +/- 20.5 days versus 9.1 +/- 4.8 days in the late period. The corresponding lengths of stay in the intensive care unit were 10.5 +/- 11.5 days and 2.0 +/- 2.2 days.

CONCLUSIONS: Bacterial tracheitis requiring hospitalization of children appeared to be milder in the second half of the study period. Pseudomonas tracheitis tends to have a severe course.

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