Tracheobronchial rupture: a considerable risk for young teenagers
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Tracheobronchial (TB) ruptures are ten times lower in children than in adults. Despite its rarity in the literature, we found that it is as common as in adults in our series. We investigated TB ruptures in childhood regarding age, trauma presentation, injury localization and treatment options. From 1994 through 2001, eight children (six male, two female) were admitted to our department with TB injury. All patients were healthy prior to trauma. The average and median ages were 9.8 and 11, respectively. All patients except one (iatrogenic) were suffering from blunt thoracic trauma. There were seven main bronchial (five right, two left) and one tracheal wounds. Six of the ruptures were circumferential. Urgent (n = 6) and delayed (n = 2) thoracotomies were performed; 'end-to-end' anastomosis (n = 4), pneumonectomy (n = 2) and 'primary suturing' (n = 2) were applied. We had no mortality. Main bronchus rupture was overlooked in two patients as one of them had almost totally normal clinical appearance, and the other one had negative endoscopic findings. Both of these patients were successfully operated within 3 months. Our limited experience showed us that these kinds of injuries threaten school age population as well. False negative bronchoscopic results increase when additional injuries accompany. TB ruptures should be always taken into consideration after blunt chest trauma. Early or late repair of the lesion should be decided depending on the patient's clinical course. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.