This study provides clinicians with relevant information regarding the surgical outcomes of patients with laryngotracheal cleft in the context of additional airway anomalies.
To determine the rates of surgical success in patients who underwent laryngotracheal cleft repair in the context of additional airway anomalies, determine the revision rate for cleft repair, characterize the time to revision among patients who underwent cleft repair, and assess the functional swallowing outcomes after cleft repair.
Design, Setting, and Participants
A retrospective study was conducted at a quaternary pediatric center of 81 children diagnosed as having laryngotracheal cleft with or without concomitant airway anomalies who underwent laryngotracheal cleft repair between February 1, 2000, and February 28, 2013. Analysis was conducted from October 1, 2012, through March 30, 2013.
Surgical repair of laryngotracheal cleft.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Surgery-specific success, overall surgical success, and revision rate. We defined surgery-specific success as a repair not requiring revision and overall surgical success as absence of a cleft or TEF at the last operative examination, regardless of the number of revisions required.
Of 81 patients with laryngotracheal cleft who underwent surgical repair, 48 (59%) had at least 1 additional airway finding; 24 (30%) had tracheomalacia and 21 (26%) had subglottic stenosis. Seventeen patients required a revision of laryngotracheal cleft repair, with a median time to revision of 8.3 months (interquartile range, 4.3-25.1 months). Six patients required a second revision, with a median interval between revisions of 44.2 months (interquartile range, 28.6-53.6 months). The surgery-specific success rate was 77% (37 of 48) in patients with additional airway anomalies and 82% (27 of 33) in those with laryngotracheal clefts alone. The overall surgical success rate was 92% (44 of 48) in patients with additional airway anomalies and 97% (32 of 33) in those with clefts alone. Fourteen (17%) patients demonstrated swallowing dysfunction postoperatively despite closure of the cleft.
Conclusions and Relevance
Although additional airway findings were common in our cohort of patients with laryngotracheal clefts, these anomalies did not affect surgery-specific or overall surgical success. The overall surgical success rate for those with and without additional airway anomalies was 92% and 97%, respectively. In view of the fact that cleft breakdown after surgical repair is not uncommon and may occur years after the initial repair, we strongly advocate long-term follow-up. Despite successful closure, a significant percentage of children with laryngotracheal cleft will have persistent swallowing dysfunction.