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Atypical croup: association with airway lesions, atopy, and esophagitis.

OBJECTIVE: To report on airway endoscopic findings and gastrointestinal and atopic conditions in a large consecutive series of atypical croup.

STUDY DESIGN: Case series with chart review.

SETTING: Tertiary pediatric referral center.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: A surgical database was searched for all children who underwent full airway endoscopy to investigate atypical croup. The primary outcome measure was the prevalence of large airway lesions in patients with atypical croup undergoing endoscopy. Demographics, secondary diagnoses, and rate of positive findings were documented. Age and atopy were correlated using Spearman's correlation coefficient, and multivariate analysis identified predictors of large airway lesions.

RESULTS: Eighty patients were identified over a period of 8 years (58 boys; mean [SD] age 4.8 [3.8] years; range, 46 days to 13.7 years). Of the 80 children, 31 had positive airway findings, with 33 large airway lesions demonstrated, including 10 subglottic stenosis, 7 laryngeal clefts, 6 subglottic hemangiomas, 4 tracheomalacia, and 3 laryngomalacia. Esophagitis was diagnosed in 36 children, 5 of whom had eosinophilic esophagitis. Thirty-five children had an atopic condition including asthma, allergic rhinitis, eosinophilic esophagitis, and food allergies. Age correlated with associated atopy (coefficient 0.4, P < .0001) and predicted the presence of any airway lesion (coefficient -0.0625, P < .001) and subglottic stenosis in particular (coefficient -0.0362, P = .001). Prior intubation predicted subglottic stenosis (coefficient 0.267, P = .011).

CONCLUSION: Thirty-nine percent of airway endoscopies demonstrated large airway lesions. When eosinophilic esophagitis was sought, it was confirmed in over 1:10 patients. The findings bolster the case for airway endoscopy coupled with allergy and gastrointestinal investigations.

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