Iatrogenic damage to the pediatric airway. Mechanisms and scar development

Paediatr Anaesth. 2009 Jul:19 Suppl 1:131-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9592.2009.03003.x.


Iatrogenic damage to the pediatric airway occurs rather often. Most injuries will heal without any sequelae because larynx and trachea of children tolerate considerable trauma. However, sometimes the injury is penetrating the mucosa and scar formation can lead to an obstruction of the airway which is followed by a tracheostomy and long term surgery. A great problem is the early detection of trauma since noisy breathing develops often late when scar formation has occluded more than 50% of the airway. A selection of photo documents of airway endoscopy out of more than 5000 photos from the years 1987-2007 were used to explain the development of injuries from minor lesions to large areas of necrosis of the mucosa of larynx and trachea of infants and children. The visualization of airway lesions might help to prevent iatrogenic damage.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cicatrix / pathology*
  • Cicatrix / surgery
  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / instrumentation
  • Larynx / injuries*
  • Larynx / pathology*
  • Trachea / injuries*
  • Trachea / pathology*