© Borgis - New Medicine 4/2012, s. 102-104
Lidia Zawadzka-Głos, Anna Jakubowska, *Magdalena Frąckiewicz, Michał Brzewski
Endoscopic and ultrasonographic evaluation of external laryngeal injuries in children
Department of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Medical University of Warsaw, Poland
Head of Department: Lidia Zawadzka-Głos, MD, PhD
Department of Pediatric Radiology, Medical University of Warsaw, Poland
Head of Department: Michał Brzewski, MD
Aim. The aim of the research is to evaluate the possibilities of diagnosing laryngeal injuries with the use of laryngoscopy and ultrasonographic examination.
Material and methods. There were diagnosed and treated 15 children aged 5-14 (6 girls and 9 boys) with external injuries of the larynx. In all cases laryngoscopy under general anesthesia and radiological examinations including ultrasound of the larynx, X-ray of the cervical spine and in selected cases CT of the chest and neck were performed.
Results. In the studied group of 15 children we observed: hit of neck into a blunt object in 10 children, strangulation with a rope or a scarf in 2 children, transport trauma in 2 children and kick in the neck in 1 child. In ultrasonographic examination the following disorders were revealed: unilateral paralysis of vocal folds (7 children), bilateral paralysis of vocal folds (1 child) and asymmetry of vocal fold movement (1 child). In laryngoscopy immobilization of one vocal fold in 7 children, adhesions in the area of the posterior commissure in 3 children and partial adhesion of vocal folds in one child were confirmed. Incorrect, asymmetrical unilateral adjustment of aryepiglottic folds was observed in ultrasound examination and laryngoscopy in 7 children.
Conclusions. Direct laryngoscopy is a standard in diagnostics of injuries of the larynx. Ultrasonography of the larynx is recommended in every case of laryngeal injury as an additional, non-invasive, complementary diagnostic examination. Ultrasonography in comparison with laryngoscopy under general anesthesia more precisely evaluates mobility of vocal folds and diagnoses fractures of cartilages without dislocation.
In children external injuries of the larynx can occur as an isolated and more frequent problem than in adults. Among the most frequent causes of injuries we can list: a hit in the arm, handle bar of a bike or scooter, on the edge of a table, bath or swimming pool, and strangulation with a rope. Seemingly these injuries appear to be insignificant in comparison to severe multiple organ traumas in car accidents; however, not always do the direct clinical symptoms correlate with the degree of respiratory tract failure. The symptoms of laryngeal injuries depend on the extent and severity of the trauma and always relate to impaired patency of the respiratory tract. This means that a patient with an injury of the larynx even with minimal symptoms is in a life-threatening condition. The symptoms can deteriorate during 24 hours. A direct hit in the area of the larynx can cause fracture with or without dislocation of laryngeal cartilages, subluxation in the cricoarytenoid joint, hematomas and edemas of the subglottic area, perforation of the respiratory tract, as well as damage of laryngeal nerves and mucosa of the larynx and trachea (8, 13, 15).
The aim of the study is to evaluate the possibilities of diagnosing laryngeal injuries with the use of laryngoscopy and ultrasonographic examination and also monitoring the progress of treatment with application of the above-mentioned methods.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Between 2004 and 2010 there were diagnosed and treated 15 children aged 5-14 (6 girls and 9 boys) with external injuries of the larynx. In all cases laryngoscopy under general anesthesia and radiological examinations including ultrasound of the larynx, X-ray of the cervical spine and in selected cases CT of the chest and neck were performed. The clinical observations and control examinations were performed in a period from 6 to 24 months after injury.
In the study group of 15 children we observed:
– hit of neck into a blunt object – 10 children
– strangulation with a rope or scarf – 2 children
– transport trauma – 2 children
– kick in the neck – 1 child
Dyspnea, present in 10 cases, was a predominating symptom. Others included hoarseness in 7 cases, change in voice quality, even aphonia in 6 cases, pain while speaking and swallowing in 4 cases, cough and hemoptysis in 2 cases.
In ultrasonographic examination the following disorders were revealed: unilateral paralysis of vocal folds (7 children), bilateral paralysis of vocal folds (1 child) and asymmetry of vocal fold movement (1 child). In laryngoscopy immobilization of one vocal fold in 7 children, adhesions in the area of the posterior commissure in 3 children and partial adhesion of vocal folds in one child were confirmed. Incorrect, asymmetrical unilateral adjustment of aryepiglottic folds was observed in ultrasound examination and laryngoscopy in 7 children.
The thickness of vocal folds in ultrasound examination was observed in 6 children. Simultaneously in this group of children in laryngoscopy edema of vocal folds in 4 and hematoma of vocal folds in 2 children were observed. On the basis of ultrasonography, in 2 children fracture of cricoid cartilage without dislocation and hematoma in this area was observed. In laryngoscopy fracture without dislocation was not observed.
In radiological examination pneumomediastinum with traumatic rupture observed in laryngotracheoscopy of the trachea was found.
Subcutaneous emphysema, pneumothorax and cervical emphysema were diagnosed in radiological examination in 4 cases with different stages of severity of laryngeal injury.
All 15 children were hospitalized. Seven of them on the basis of clinical view and diagnostics were qualified as not serious trauma and were treated conservatively. In the group of 8 children with severe trauma, in 2 cases tracheotomy was performed, in 4 cases short-term intubation was performed, and in 2 cases intralaryngeal procedures were performed.
Injury of the larynx is a life-threatening condition because of impairment of patency of the respiratory tract or cardiogenic shock due to bradycardia, arrhythmia, blood pressure drop or cardiac arrest. It has close a connection with innervation of the larynx by the vagus nerve through the laryngeal nerves. The right vagus nerve supplies the sinus node, while the left vagus nerve supplies the vestiboventricular node. That is why every patient with an injury of the larynx should stay under observation in hospital (1, 2, 4).
Traumas of the larynx constitute around 1% of all traumas of the human body. The type of treatment and possibilities of post-traumatic complications depend on the extent and location of laryngeal trauma (3, 9-11). The qualification with regard to localization of laryngeal trauma includes epiglottic, glottic and subglottic trauma.
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