Systematic Review of CT Angiography in Guiding Management in Pediatric Oropharyngeal Trauma

Laryngoscope. 2023 Mar;133(3):457-466. doi: 10.1002/lary.30179. Epub 2022 May 13.


Objectives: Pediatric oropharyngeal trauma is common. Although most cases resolve uneventfully, there have been reports of internal carotid artery injury leading to devastating neurovascular sequelae. There is significant controversy regarding the utility of CT angiography (CTA) in children with seemingly minor oropharyngeal trauma. The goal of this study was to appraise changes in diagnosis and treatment based on CTA results.

Methods: A comprehensive search of PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, Scopus, the Cochrane Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders Group Trials Register, and the database was performed following PRISMA guidelines.

Results: The search yielded 5,078 unique abstracts, of which 8 articles were included. A total of 662 patients were included, with 293 having any CT head/neck imaging, and 255 with CTA. Eleven injuries/abnormalities of the carotid were found on CTAs, comprising edema around the carotid (n = 8), potential intimal tear (n = 1), carotid spasm (n = 1), and carotid compression (n = 1). The pooled proportion of imaging findings on CTA that could lead to changes in clinical management was 0.00 (95% CI 0.00-0.43). Angiography was obtained in 10 patients, in 6 cases due to abnormal CTA. Angiography identified 1 patient with vessel spasm and two patients with carotid intima disruption without thrombus. No patient underwent vascular repair or suffered cerebrovascular injury.

Conclusion: Imaging with CTA yielded radiological abnormalities in a few instances. These results do not support the routine use of CTA in screening pediatric oropharyngeal trauma when balanced against the risk of radiation, as it rarely resulted in management changes and was not shown to improve outcomes.

Level of evidence: N/A Laryngoscope, 133:457-466, 2023.

Keywords: CT angiography; oropharyngeal trauma; pediatrics.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiography / methods
  • Carotid Arteries
  • Carotid Artery Injuries* / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery Injuries* / etiology
  • Carotid Artery Injuries* / therapy
  • Child
  • Computed Tomography Angiography*
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods