BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to identify predictors of postoperative respiratory failure after surgical tracheoplasty for congenital tracheal stenosis.
METHODS: Between February 2011 and April 2017, 16 infants underwent congenital tracheal stenosis repair. Preoperative computed tomography evaluation of the trachea and mainstem bronchi was performed. The primary outcome was midterm freedom from postoperative respiratory failure defined as persistent need for mechanical ventilation or surgical tracheobronchial reoperation. Bronchial mismatch, defined as [1 - (smaller bronchus diameter / larger bronchus diameter)] × 100, was analyzed in relation to the primary outcome.
RESULTS: Median age was 106 days (range, 1 to 406) and median weight was 5.3 kg (range, 2.6 to 8 kg). Four patients were neonates (25%) and 6 had genetic abnormalities (37.5%). There were no early nor late deaths. Median ventilation time was 5.5 days (range, 3 to 45). Mean follow-up time was 2.2 years (range, 0.1 to 4.5). Four patients with bronchial mismatch greater than 20% had postoperative respiratory failure (p = 0.002). Two of them underwent tracheostomy and were discharged with ventilation home care support. One underwent successful reoperation consisting of bilateral bronchial plasty with autologous cartilage rib grafts, and the other underwent successful right bronchial and tracheal reconstruction. One patient with bilateral bronchial hypoplasia underwent slide tracheoplasty associated with preemptive bilateral bronchial plasty and made a full recovery.
CONCLUSIONS: Surgical treatment of congenital tracheal stenosis in neonates and infants portends a good outcome. Bronchial mismatch greater than 20% can identify a subset of patients at increased risk for surgical reintervention and chronic respiratory failure. Slide tracheoplasty with preemptive bronchial reconstruction may prevent postoperative respiratory failure.