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Laryngoscope. 2007 Sep;117(9):1652-60.

Tracheolaryngeal complications of inherited epidermolysis bullosa: cumulative experience of the national epidermolysis bullosa registry.

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  • 1National Epidermolysis Bullosa Registry, Nashville, Tennessee 37203, USA.



To accurately determine the frequency with which complications arise in the ears, noses, and throats of patients with inherited epidermolysis bullosa (EB) as well as the cumulative risk of tracheolaryngeal stenosis or stricture.


Cross-sectional study (3,280 patients) with a nested, randomly sampled longitudinal subcohort (n=450), representing data collection, stratified by major EB subtype, of the National EB Registry, an epidemiologic project focused on enrolling all EB patients within the continental United States from 1986 to 2002, to permit generalization of findings to the entire American EB population.


Systematic epidemiologic case finding and data collection were performed throughout the continental United States, followed by subclassification of patients by EB subtype. ENT complications were quantified via contingency tables (as frequencies) and lifetable analyses. Frequencies of surgical procedures were also determined.


The most important clinical ENT complication in inherited EB was tracheolaryngeal stenosis or stricture, arising during early childhood and primarily within infants and children with junctional EB (JEB) (cumulative risk of 39.8% and 12.8% in Herlitz and non-Herlitz JEB, respectively, by ages 6 and 9). Other uncommon complications included chronic otitis media, chronic otitis externa, and hearing loss.


Given the potential risk for sudden airway occlusion and death, meticulous surveillance by a pediatric otolaryngologist is a critical part of the overall management of infants and children with EB, especially those with JEB and two rare subtypes of generalized EB simplex. Elective tracheostomy should be considered in EB infants and children with evidence of airway embarrassment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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