Objective: To identify factors associated with mortality and prolonged ventilatory requirements in patients admitted to our paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) with tracheobronchial malacia and stenosis diagnosed by dynamic contrast bronchograms.
Design: Retrospective review.
Setting: Tertiary paediatric intensive care unit.
Patients: Forty-eight cases admitted to our PICU over a 5-year period in whom a diagnosis of tracheobronchial malacia or stenosis was made by dynamic contrast bronchography (1994-1999).
Interventions: Conservative management, tracheostomy and long-term ventilation, surgical correction, internal or external airway stenting.
Measurements and results: Recording of clinical details, length of invasive ventilation and appearance at contrast bronchography. Five groups of patients were defined: isolated primary airway pathology (n = 7), ex-premature infants (n = 11), vascular rings (n = 9), complex cardiac and/or syndromic pathology (n = 17) and tracheo-oesophageal fistulae (n = 4). The overall mortality was 29%. Median length of invasive ventilation in survivors was 38 days and in patients who died 45. Mortality was highest in the patients with complex cardiac and/or syndromic pathology (p = 0.039 Cox regression analysis) but was not related to any other factor. Patients with stenosis required a significantly longer period of ventilatory support (median length of ventilation 59 days) than patients with malacia (39 days).
Conclusions: Length of ventilation and bronchographic diagnosis did not predict survival. The only factor found to contribute significantly to mortality was the presence of complex cardiac and/or syndromic pathology. However, patients with stenosis required longer ventilatory support than patients with malacia.