A single institution's experience with the management of peripheral bronchial atresia

Pediatr Surg Int. 2022 Jun;38(6):853-860. doi: 10.1007/s00383-022-05089-z. Epub 2022 Mar 1.


Purpose: Peripheral bronchial atresia is a pulmonary abnormality diagnosed on postnatal computed tomography after prenatal imaging reveals a congenital lung lesion. Debate regarding management of this abnormality prompted us to review our institution's practice patterns and outcomes.

Methods: All patients diagnosed with bronchial atresia were assessed from 6/2014 to 7/2020. Pediatric radiologists were surveyed to delineate computed tomography criteria used to diagnose peripheral bronchial atresia. Criteria were applied in an independent blinded review of postnatal imaging. Data for patients determined to have peripheral bronchial atresia and at least an initial pediatric surgical evaluation were analyzed.

Results: Twenty-eight patients with bronchial atresia received at least an initial pediatric surgical evaluation. Expectant management was planned for 22/28 (79%) patients. Two patients transitioned from an expectant management strategy to an operative strategy for recurrent respiratory infections; final pathology revealed bronchial atresia in both. Six patients were initially managed operatively; final pathology revealed bronchial atresia (n = 3) or congenital lobar overinflation (n = 3).

Conclusions: Peripheral bronchial atresia can be safely managed expectantly. A change in symptoms is suspicious for alternate lung pathology, warranting further workup and consideration for resection.

Level of evidence: Level IV.

Keywords: Bronchial atresia (BA); Congenital lung lesion; Congenital lung malformation; Congenital pulmonary airway malformation (CPAM); Expectant management; Operative management; Peripheral bronchial atresia.

MeSH terms

  • Bronchial Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung
  • Lung Diseases*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pulmonary Emphysema*
  • Respiratory System Abnormalities* / diagnostic imaging
  • Respiratory System Abnormalities* / surgery