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September 1992

Severe Laryngotracheobronchitis Complicating Measles

Author Affiliations

From the Critical Care Section, Departments of Pediatrics (Drs Fortenberry, Mariscalco, Louis, Stein, and Jefferson) and Otolaryngology (Dr Jones), Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Tex. Dr Fortenberry is now with the Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga.

Am J Dis Child. 1992;146(9):1040-1043. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160210042018

• Objective.  —To determine the incidence of severe measles-related laryngotracheobronchitis in patients hospitalized during a recent measles epidemic and to evaluate factors associated with severity of airway injury and its management.

Design.  —Clinical description of patient series. Setting.—Children's hospital and county general hospital, Houston, Tex.

Patients.  —One hundred twenty-four children (aged 1 month to 19 years) admitted with a diagnosis of measles.

Interventions.  —None.

Measurements/Results.  —Twenty-seven patients had significant laryngotracheobronchitis, including 10 who had not received appropriate immunization. Six patients required endotracheal intubation for relief of upper airway obstruction. The median age of patients requiring intubation was 12 months (range, 4 to 24 months). Two patients died of complications of superinfection. Two patients survived but required prolonged intubation. Two patients underwent early diagnostic laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy and required shorter artificial airway maintenance.

Conclusions.  —Severe laryngotracheobronchitis frequently occurs in patients younger than 2 years hospitalized with measles and may be related to bacterial or viral superinfection. Early diagnostic laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy for injury assessment and possible endotracheal tube exchange are recommended and, in some severe cases, tracheostomy should be considered to shorten artificial airway maintenance and decrease the incidence of airway complications.(AJDC. 1992;146:1040-1043)