To review the clinical features, associated congenital abnormalities, management, and morbidity of infants presenting with posterior laryngeal and laryngotracheal clefts.
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children NHS Trust, London, England.
Consecutive sample of 44 patients presenting with posterior laryngeal and laryngotracheal clefts between December 10, 1979, and January 30, 1992.
Main Outcome Measures:
Clinical features, incidence of surgery, and associated morbidity and mortality related to different types of airway cleft.
The main presenting features were stridor and aspiration, which were more evident with the more extensive clefts. Twenty-five patients (56%) had associated congenital abnormalities. Fourteen patients (32%) were treated conservatively. Sixteen patients (36%) underwent primary endoscopic surgical repair. Eight patients (18%) underwent primary repair via an anterior laryngofissure; and six patients (14%) underwent primary repair via a lateral pharyngotomy. Eight patients (18%) required revision surgery, two (4%) of them on more than one occasion. Ten patients (23%) required fundoplication to control gastroesophageal reflux. Six patients (14%) died.
The identification of an airway cleft requires a high index of suspicion. Morbidity and mortality are reduced by securing the airway, controlling gastroesophageal reflux, and using a multidisciplinary pediatric team. We recommend the anterior laryngofissure because of the ease of surgical access.(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995;121:1380-1385)