Role of endoscopic CO2 laser surgery in the treatment of congenital infantile subglottic hemangioma. Experience in the Department of Otolaryngology, "Sick Children Hospital", Toronto, Canada

Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital. 2003 Jun;23(3):175-9.


Subglottic hemangioma is a rare, histologically benign congenital neoplasm. The natural history is characterized by progressive obstruction of the airways during the proliferative stage, followed by gradual regression of the obstructive symptomatology in the involutional phase. After an asymptomatic neonatal period, the infant presents a characteristic biphasic stridor as the lesion progressively obstructs the subglottic space. In 80-90% of cases, these symptoms appear in the first six months of life. The involutional process generally begins at 12 months of age and continues until the subglottic hemangioma regresses completely. Due to high incidence of mortality in untreated cases, therapy should be undertaken immediately. Aim of therapy is to restore normal respiration, attempting to preserve the child's voice and alter the quality of life both of the infant and the family as little as possible. A retrospective study was carried out on all cases of infantile subglottic hemangioma treated in the Department of Otolaryngology, "Sick Children Hospital", Toronto, between 1980 and 2000. The therapeutic strategy adopted until breathing returned to normal comprised repeated endoscopic CO2 laser treatment of the lesion and perioperative administration of oral cortisone (1 mg/kg/day dexamethazone, subdivided in 3 doses) for 24-48 hours. CO2 laser was used each time the patient presented progressive worsening of obstructive respiratory symptoms. The interval between two laser treatments was > or = 6 weeks. Repeated endoscopic laser treatment, combined with other therapeutic modalities, enabled tracheotomy to be avoided in all but 4 (7.2%) cases.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Canada
  • Carbon Dioxide / administration & dosage*
  • Catchment Area, Health
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Endoscopy / methods*
  • Female
  • Glottis / surgery*
  • Hemangioma / congenital
  • Hemangioma / surgery*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / congenital
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Laser Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Male
  • Otolaryngology / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Carbon Dioxide