Long-term functional results of prosthetic airway splinting in tracheomalacia and bronchomalacia

I Vinograd, R M Filler, A Bahoric
Journal of Pediatric Surgery 1987, 22 (1): 38-41
The long-term functional results of splinting a collapsing major airway with a silastic Marlex mesh prosthesis were assessed. Six patients in whom follow-up has been longer than 4 years (mean 5.3 years) were studied. The prosthetic semirigid splints had been implanted in five children with tracheomalacia and one with bronchomalacia. Mean age at the time of airway splinting was 4 years (range 6 months to 8 years). At their last clinical evaluation, all six children were leading normal active lives. Three had mild respiratory symptoms not related to the splinting. The only long-term complication was a serous effusion that developed around the splint and compressed the trachea in one child 2 years postoperatively. Tracheal fluoroscopy, barium swallow, and computed tomography scans of the trachea in five patients demonstrated satisfactory tracheal caliber without airway collapse during expiration and coughing. Pulmonary function testing showed a mild increase in airway resistance in one child who had had a tracheostomy. These results demonstrate that the application of composite synthetic graft to a segment of a malacic airway in young patients can provide long-term relief from airway collapse without compromising airway growth.

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