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Pediatric Bacterial Tracheitis-A Variable Entity: Case Series with Literature Review.

OBJECTIVE: To review the presentation and treatment of children diagnosed with bacterial tracheitis at our institution and to review the available literature focusing on key presenting symptoms and clinical outcomes of children diagnosed with bacterial tracheitis.

STUDY DESIGN: Case series with literature review.

SETTING: Tertiary children's hospital and available literature.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Case series of children with bacterial tracheitis retrospectively reviewed at a tertiary children's hospital. Those with a tracheostomy or those who developed bacterial tracheitis as a complication of prolonged intubation were excluded.

RESULTS: Thirty-six children were identified (mean ± SD age, 6.7 ± 4.5 years). The most common presenting symptom was cough (85%), followed by stridor (77%) and voice changes/hoarseness (67%). A concurrent viral illness was found for 55%, and the most common bacteria cultured was methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus. Pediatric intensive care admission occurred for 69%, and 43% required intubation. No patient required tracheostomy. One patient (2.7%) died secondary to airway obstruction and subsequent respiratory arrest. Four patients had recurrence of bacterial tracheitis 4 to 12 months following their initial presentation.

CONCLUSION: Bacterial tracheitis is an uncommon condition with an atypical presentation and variable clinical course but serious consequences if left unrecognized. Staphylococcus is the most common bacteria identified, and many patients will have a prodromal viral illness. Changes in patient epidemiology and presentation may have occurred over time.

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