Presentation of laryngeal papilloma in childhood: the Leeds experience

Int J Clin Pract. 2012 Feb;66(2):183-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2011.02861.x.


Introduction: The human papilloma virus (HPV) can cause laryngeal papillomatosis in childhood. The aetiology is thought to be vertical transmission. Clinically these children are usually asymptomatic for the first 6 months of life. As the papillomas develop locally, symptoms begin to develop. The symptoms range from voice change to frank hoarseness, and 'noisy' breathing, most commonly inspiratory stridor.

Method: Clinical images from microlaryngoscopy and bronchoscopy over a 12-year period were assessed for laryngeal papilloma.

Results: In Leeds seven cases presented to the specialist centre over the past 12 years, the average age at presentation was 6.8 years and duration of onset of symptoms to specialist review was 21 months. Five of the children had been treated for asthma and two presented in extremis.

Conclusion: The take home message for clinicians is hoarse voice associated with shortness of breath needs specialist referral.

MeSH terms

  • Bronchoscopy
  • Child
  • Dyspnea / etiology
  • Female
  • Hoarseness / etiology
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / complications
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Laryngoscopy
  • Male
  • Papilloma / complications
  • Papilloma / diagnosis*

Supplementary concepts

  • Laryngeal papillomatosis