Study objective: To evaluate the practice of using nasopharyngoscopy without routine fiberoptic bronchoscopy for children presenting to a pediatric pulmonary practice with nonspecific noisy breathing.
Design: Retrospective chart review. Records of patients who underwent nasopharyngoscopy between January 1, 1990, and December 31, 1999, were reviewed. Follow-up was obtained by office records and direct contact with the patient’s family and/or primary care physician.
Setting: Academic, tertiary care facility.
Results: Eighty-one children who underwent upper airway endoscopy to evaluate noisy breathing consistent with extrathoracic lesions were identified. One child had two evaluations separated by years for differing complaints, making a total of 82 procedures. Stridor was the chief complaint in three fourths of the children. Half of the children with stridor were found to have laryngomalacia. Long-term follow-up was available for 75 of 81 children, with median follow-up of 6 years (range, 1 to 13 years). No medical problems related to missed airway lesions developed in any infants initially evaluated using nasopharyngoscopy.
Conclusions: Nasopharyngoscopy without lower airway endoscopy can be used safely for the initial evaluation of noisy breathing in infants and children provided excellent follow-up is available.