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THE JOURNAL OF CARDIOVASCULAR SURGERY
Rivista di Chirurgia Cardiaca, Vascolare e Toracica
Indexed/Abstracted in: BIOSIS Previews, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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ORIGINAL ARTICLES VASCULAR SECTION
The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2001 October;42(5):663-6
Tracheobronchial compression of vascular origin. Review of experience in infants and children
Bové T., Demanet H., Casimir G. *, Viart P. **, Goldstein J. P., Deuvaert F. E.
From the Department of Cardiac Surgery, Pneumology* and Cardiology**, Hopital Universitaire Des Enfants Reine Fabiola, ULB - VUB Brussels, Belgium
Background. Tracheobronchial compression of vascular origin is an uncommon but important cause of respiratory distress in infants and children. We reviewed our surgical experience with 31 children, presenting vascular tracheobronchial compression.
Methods. Thirty-one children, with a median age of seven months, were operated on for airway and/or oesophageal compression secondary to vascular anomalies. Diagnostic findings, mainly established by bronchoscopy and angiography, revealed several pathologic disorders such as right aortic arch with aortic diverticulum in 10, double aortic arch in five, innominate artery compression in six, arteria lusoria in four, and pulmonary artery sling in one patient. Five children developed tracheobronchial compression after previous repair of a complex congenital heart disease. Clinical symptoms on admission were dominantly stridor, recurrent airway infection, dyspnea, respiratory distress and upper digestive complaints such as dysphagia and gastroesophageal reflux.
Results. Surgical relief was successful in 30 patients. Only one child with palliated tetralogy of Fallot and pulmonary artery sling died because of intractable extensive tracheobronchial stenosis. Late follow-up over three to 90 months showed a symptom-free evolution in most patients, including one reoperation for recurrent compression and one late death.
Conclusions. Tracheobronchial compression by vascular structures in childhood is uncommon and may be masked by nonspecific respiratory symptoms, resulting in an often delayed diagnosis. Once imaging studies have clearly delineated the causal pathologic vascular structures, surgical correction is often straightforward and effective, in spite of the common presence of tracheobronchial malacia.