Preoperative assessment in patients with postintubation tracheal stenosis: Rigid and flexible bronchoscopy versus spiral CT scan with multiplanar reconstructions

A. Carretta, G. Melloni, P. Ciriaco, L. Libretti, M. Casiraghi, A. Bandiera, P. Zannini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Postintubation stenosis remains the most frequent indication for tracheal surgery. Rigid bronchoscopy has traditionally been considered the technique of choice for the preoperative diagnostic assessment. However, this technique is not routinely available, and new techniques such as flexible videobronchoscopy and spiral computed tomography (CT) scan with multiplanar reconstructions have been proposed as alternatives to rigid bronchoscopy. The aim of this study was to compare these techniques in the diagnostic assessment of patients with tracheal stenosis submitted to surgical treatment. Methods: Twelve patients who underwent airway resection and reconstruction for postintubation tracheal and laryngotracheal stenosis were preoperatively evaluated with rigid and flexible bronchoscopy and with spiral CT scan with multiplanar reconstructions. The following parameters were examined: involvement of subglottic larynx, length of the stenosis, and associated lesions. The results were compared with the intraoperative findings. Results: The accuracy of rigid bronchoscopy, flexible bronchoscopy, and CT scan in the evaluation of the involvement of subglottic larynx was, respectively, 92%, 83%, and 83%. The evaluation of the length of the stenosis was correct in 83%, 92%, and 25% of the patients, respectively, with rigid bronchoscopy, flexible bronchoscopy, and CT scan. A significant correlation was observed between the length of the stenosis measured intraoperatively and preoperatively with rigid (p <0.001) and flexible bronchoscopy (p <0.05) but not with CT scan (p = 0.08). The three techniques correctly showed the presence of an associated tracheoesophageal fistula in two patients, but CT scan did not correctly show the exact location of the fistula in relation to the airway. Flexible bronchoscopy was the only effective technique in the assessment of laryngeal function. Conclusions: Rigid bronchoscopy remains the procedure of choice in the evaluation of candidates for tracheal resection and reconstruction for postintubation stenosis, and it should be available in centers that perform surgery of the airway. Flexible bronchoscopy and CT scan have to be considered complementary techniques in the evaluation of laryngeal function and during follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-908
Number of pages4
JournalSurgical Endoscopy and Other Interventional Techniques
Volume20
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006

Keywords

  • Bronchoscopy
  • CT scan
  • Postintubation stenosis
  • Surgery
  • Trachea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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