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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1996 Dec 20;38(2):103-13.

Patient selection for primary laryngotracheal separation as treatment of chronic aspiration in the impaired child.

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Department of Pediatric Surgery, Alfred I. duPont Institute, Wilmington, DE 19899, USA.


Chronic aspiration in the neurologically impaired child is associated with significant medical and social complications. Traditional surgical management has often relied on tracheotomy. This may well fail to control aspiration. The purpose of this retrospective study was to determine which neurologically impaired children would benefit from a laryngotracheal separation (LTS), as opposed to tracheotomy, as the primary surgical procedure to control chronic salivary aspiration. Patient selection was based on neurologic status, verbal communication ability, likelihood of neurologic recovery, and failure of previous treatments to control aspiration. Nineteen neurologically impaired children aged 8-172 months with chronic salivary aspiration underwent LTS. A total of 73.6% of these patients had prior tracheotomies, yet they continued to aspirate. Two early and three late complications were noted. No instances of fistula formation were noted. There were no deaths related to complications of the surgery or persistent aspiration. Follow-up 1-62 months after surgery demonstrated that complete control of the aspiration was achieved in all of these children. Two of the children who had achieved verbal communication prior to the procedure lost this ability. Improved general health and ability to resume oral intake was noted in all patients. This, combined with a decrease in the need of frequent suctioning, was felt by the families of these children to be a major improvement in the quality of life. Laryngotracheal separation appears to be a simple and effective means of controlling chronic aspiration. It should be considered as a primary treatment of aspiration in the properly selected child with neurologic disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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