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Pediatr Int. 2010 Oct;52(5):723-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-200X.2010.03096.x.

Bifid epiglottis: syndromic constituent rather than isolated anomaly.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Nephrology, Tokyo Metropolitan Kiyose Children's Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.



Bifid epiglottis is a congenital malformation defined as a midline-cleft of the epiglottis, which can be presented as an isolated anomaly as well as a part of malformation complexes. Its common occurrence in Pallister-Hall syndrome (PHS) has recently been attracting special attention. In the embryo, epiglottis, hypothalamus, and digital buds develop synchronously. Some disturbances during this stage may account for the concurrence of bifid epiglottis, hypothalamic hamartoma, and polysyndactyly in PHS. The incidence of bifid epiglottis remains unknown.


We report here four children with bifid epiglottis out of 472 children who underwent laryngoscopy during the period from January 1995 to December 2004 in our hospital.


All four children presented stridor of variable degrees. One had a partial cleft of the epiglottis associated with only tracheomalacia. The other three had a complete cleft of the epiglottis associated with complex malformations: one had accessory auricles with preauricular sinus, polycystic kidney disease with intrahepatic biliary dilatation, endocardial cushion defect, and postaxial polydactyly; another had hypothalamic hamartoma, Hirschsprung disease, and polydactyly, which warranted a diagnosis of PHS; the other had no other dysmorphic features.


Bifid epiglottis can be presented as a syndromic constituent of congenital malformation syndromes rather than as an isolated anomaly. A high index of suspicion of bifid epiglottis should be raised in children with brachy-poly-syndactyly and clinical symptoms of upper airway obstruction.

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