Study objective: To determine the ideal airway management modalities in general anesthesia for pediatric patients with Klippel-Feil syndrome, a disorder that is characterized by abnormalities of the cervical spine and craniofacial structures that may impede successful airway management.
Design: Retrospective review of electronic anesthesia database.
Setting: University hospital.
Measurements: The electronic charts of 10 pediatric patients with Klippel-Feil syndrome (KFS) who received treatment at our institution from 2005 to 2007 were reviewed with a focus on diagnosis, level of lesion, comorbid diseases, age, procedure, history of perioperative difficulties, and airway management during general anesthesia.
Main results: A total of 10 pediatric patients, 6 girls and 4 boys, underwent 11 procedures from 2005 to 2007. Average age was 11 (range, 4-16 yrs). Six patients were ASA physical status II and 4 were ASA physical status III. Four patients had spinal fusion, 6 underwent magnetic resonance imaging, and one patient underwent removal of halo hardware. Eight patients had undergone previous surgeries; of the 8, one patient had a history of difficult intubation. Six patients underwent tracheal intubations, 4 had a Laryngeal Mask Airway (LMA; Orthovent Intafix, Maidenhead, UK) placed, and one had mask ventilation with an oral airway. Of 6 tracheal intubations, 5 were achieved on the first or second attempt without difficulty. Three had grade 1 laryngoscopic views; only one patient needed fiberoptic intubation. Because the fiberoptic intubation took several attempts, it was noted as a difficult intubation in the chart. All LMAs were placed without difficulty, and the cases were uneventful.
Conclusions: The airways of individuals with KFS may be successfully managed in a variety of ways, often with little degree of difficulty.