Airway obstruction by vascular anomalies. Importance of telescopic bronchoscopy.
This review of 28 cases of airway obstruction by vascular anomalies in the past 6 years emphasizes the importance of these anomalies as causes of obstruction, stridor, and apnea in infants as well as the important contribution of telescopic bronchoscopy to the recognition of these lesions, especially compression of the trachea by the innominate artery. There were 20 patients with compression by the innominate artery; four were surgically corrected. Seven vascular ring anomalies were all corrected by operation as was an enlarged left atrium and malformed mitral valve in one patient. Vascular anomalies caused 26% of the obstructive airway lesions in a series of infants who had bronchoscopy for obstruction, stridor, or apnea. Failure to diagnose and treat these entities may result in progressive respiratory embarrassment and even death. Barium esophagogram and aortic arch arteriogram, the traditional modalities for diagnosing vascular rings, may fail to identify tracheal compression by enlarged cardiac chambers or the more common "anomalous" innominate artery. Telescopic bronchoscopy will identify tracheal compression by the innominate artery; furthermore, it will identify the area of compression by the vascular ring. Observation of the compressed area during corrective surgery ensures that the operative manipulations are appropriate and successful in relieving the obstruction. This observation can be facilitated by televised monitoring and videotaping.
Filston, HC; Ferguson, TB; Oldham, HN
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