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Online ISSN 1827-1596
Moschini V., Collini R.
Department of Pediatric Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Fondazione Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Mangiagalli e Regina Elena, Milan, Italy
Despite the large variety of equipment available for pediatric intubations, difficult tracheal intubation is still a main factor in deaths associated with anesthesia, especially in children with congenital anomalies of the airways or with rare diseases and syndromes. The aim of this study was to focus attention on the possibility of difficult intubation in children with preauricular tags. This condition is reported as both isolated and associated with more complex syndromes, including nephrourological anomalies and multiple craniofacial dysmorphysms. We retrospectively analyzed the anesthesia procedures for seven children (aged between 3 and 18 months) who underwent surgical ablation of preauricular tags between October 2006 and April 2008 at the Fondazione Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Mangiagalli and Regina Elena of Milan. Two of these children, both native residents of Sri Lanka, presented with a problematic airway and difficult tracheal intubation, which was suspected in one case but totally unexpected in the other. Considering the International Guidelines for difficult intubation in pediatrics and the data of other authors, our conclusions for how to approach a child with preauricular tags are: 1) to verify whether the defect is isolated or associated with other malformations; 2) to analyze the medical history and to perform an accurate physical examination to identify a possibly difficult airway; and 3) to not exceed three attempts to intubate and, if possible, to choose an alternative strategy.