Association of endotracheal tube repositioning and acute laryngeal lesions during mechanical ventilation in children
The incidence, severity and pattern of post-intubation laryngotracheal sequelae in a 12 bed multidisciplinary intensive care unit (ICU) were assessed in this prospective study. One-hundred and fifty consecutive patients requiring intubation for more than 24 hours for various indications were studied. Evaluation of the larynx and trachea was done using a fibreoptic bronchoscope introduced through the endotracheal tube prior to elective extubation. Rigid bronchoscopy and direct laryngoscopy were performed in very small children and adults requiring tracheostomy. One-hundred and thirty-one (87.6 per cent) patients had visible laryngeal pathology in the immediate post-extubation period. Thirteen (8.6 per cent) had long term sequelae. A high incidence of long term sequelae was noted in patients with seizures (25 per cent) followed by patients with head injury (19 per cent). Steroid therapy failed to offer any significant protection but resulted in doubling of pulmonary sepsis. A grading system was adopted to classify acute laryngotracheal injury and a significant correlation was found between the presence of slough in the immediate post-extubation period and subsequent development of long term sequelae. There was also a significant correlation between a deeper insertion of the endotracheal tube and development subsequently of long term sequelae. The significance of these findings is discussed.