INTRODUCTION: The term “malacia” refers to softness; in medical terminology, it refers to weakness of bone or cartilage. Laryngomalacia is the most common congenital abnormality of the larynx, and the patient may experience recurrent aspiration. Tracheomalacia refers to tracheal weakness and usually causes airway collapse as a result of cartilage defect. Bronchomalacia describes the weakness and collapsibility of 1 or both main bronchi. All of these diseases can be diagnosed by bronchoscopy, but this method is invasive and may interfere with the diagnosis. Furthermore, it is intolerable in young individuals who are severely ill and in patients with coagulopathy.
OBJECTIVE: This study was conducted to examine the role of virtual bronchoscopy in the diagnosis of laryngotracheobronchomalacia.
METHODS: In a periexperimental study during 3 years (November 2003 through October 2006), 35 patients who had clinical signs and symptoms of airway malacia were surveyed via virtual bronchoscopy.
RESULTS: The percentage of boys and girls was 65.7% and 34.3%, respectively, and the mean age was 3.7 ± 1.6 months. The result of virtual bronchoscopy for laryngomalacia, bronchomalacia, tracheomalacia, laryngotracheomalacia and laryngobronchomalacia was 42.8%, 25.7%, 20%, 8.5%, and 2.9%, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Virtual bronchoscopy, because of its noninvasive character, its speed imaging, and its excellent ability of assessment of airway stenosis can be considered as a substitution for bronchoscopy.
Submitted by Nemat Bilan
- Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Pediatrics