Serious complications of an obstructive upper airway infection in a young child

April 2009
Signa Vitae;Apr2009, Vol. 4 Issue 1, p30
Academic Journal
A 15-month old boy was admitted to our intensive care unit (ICU) cyanotic, unresponsive, apneic, pulseless, with fixed, dilated pupils and a Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) of 3/15. Prompt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was initiated and cardiac function was resumed after 10 minutes. The boy was intubated but could not be ventilated because of a thick, viscous secretion obstructing the trachea and causing total airway obstruction. Bronchoscopy revealed laryngotracheitis as the reason for airway obstruction. A computed tomography (CT) scan of the brain showed diffuse edema and ischemic brain injury, which were considered responsible for the boy's comatose situation. Clinical status remained unchanged for 11 days, after which the boy was transported to another hospital. In children presenting with upper airway obstructing syndromes, not responding to therapy, the diagnosis of bacterial tracheitis should be considered and the child should be monitored in a pediatric intensive care unit.


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