Surgical Management of Supraglottic Stenosis Using Intubationless Optiflow

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Abstract

Objective:

Airway management during endoscopic surgical treatment of supraglottic and pharyngeal stenosis is often challenging and can be accomplished by various means, including tracheostomy, jet ventilation, or direct laryngoscopy. We describe CO2 laser excision of supraglottic-pharyngeal stenosis using intubationless Optiflow high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC).

Methods:

A 55-year-old male presented with dyspnea and dysphagia secondary to severe supraglottic-pharyngeal stenosis in the setting of previous chemoradiation for a T0N2aM0 squamous cell carcinoma. Laryngoscopy revealed severe supraglottic-pharyngeal stenosis with tethering of the epiglottis to the lateral pharyngeal walls. Optiflow HFNC was used to deliver 70 L/min of oxygen. After anesthetic induction, CO2 laser microlaryngoscopy was utilized to release scar tissue along the lateral epiglottic border, opening up the supraglottic airway sufficiently for endotracheal intubation and further laser resection.

Results:

Airway management with Optiflow HFNC allowed initial endoscopic surgical access, partial stenotic release, and intubation. From anesthetic induction to intubation, the patient remained apneic for 26 minutes. The patient’s stenosis was successfully addressed, and 10-month follow-up demonstrated stable patency of the airway.

Conclusion:

Optiflow is an important new tool in the management of severe supraglottic stenosis. It provides sufficient oxygenation to perform extended apneic surgery and improves endoscopic surgical access in a limited airway.

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