Ideal timing of pediatric laryngotracheal reconstruction

G H Zalzal, S S Choi, K M Patel
Archives of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery 1997, 123 (2): 206-8

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether there is an ideal age at which to perform a laryngotracheal reconstruction (LTR) in the pediatric population.

DESIGN: Prospective observational study.

SETTING: Tertiary care children's hospital.

PATIENTS: Forty-eight patients aged 48 months or younger with laryngotracheal stenosis who underwent 50 LTRs from October 1, 1986, to June 30, 1995. Patients were divided into 2 groups: group 1, aged 8 through 24 months (22 patients); group 2, aged 25 through 48 months (26 patients).

INTERVENTION: Endoscopy and LTR.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Successful decannulation.

RESULTS: Statistical analysis showed that (1) patients in group 2 had more severe degree of laryngotracheal stenosis as determined by duration of stenting with no difference in multiple sites of stenosis or type of repair required to correct laryngotracheal stenosis and (2) patients in group 2 were more likely to have successful decannulation.

CONCLUSION: Laryngotracheal reconstruction at a younger age (< 25 months) is important for a child's speech and language development as well as for eliminating the morbidity and mortality associated with a tracheotomy. However, LTR at a younger age is associated with a higher risk of failure despite lesser degree of pathology. Therefore, although we still recommend LTR at a younger age since it may be beneficial for a child's speech and language development and avoidance of tracheotomy complications, this recommendation may be at the price of LTR failure and requirement for revision procedures.

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