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Clinical Investigations: Miscellaneous |

The Role of Timely Intervention in Middle Lobe Syndrome in Children*

Kostas N. Priftis, MD, PhD; Despina Mermiri, MD; Athina Papadopoulou, MD, PhD; Michael B. Anthracopoulos, MD, PhD; George Vaos, MD, PhD; Polyxeni Nicolaidou, MD, PhD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Departments of Allergology-Pulmonology (Drs. Priftis, and Mermiri, and Papadopoulou) and Paediatric Surgery (Dr. Vaos), Penteli Children’s Hospital, P. Penteli, Greece; Respiratory Unit (Dr. Anthracopoulos), Department of Paediatrics, University of Patras, Patras, Greece; and the Third Department of Paediatrics (Dr. Nicolaidou), Attikon Hospital, University of Athens School of Medicine, Athens, Greece.

Correspondence to: Kostas N. Priftis, Allergology-Pulmonology Department, Penteli Children’s Hospital, 152 36 P. Penteli, Greece; e-mail: kpriftis@otenet.gr



Chest. 2005;128(4):2504-2510. doi:10.1378/chest.128.4.2504
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Study objectives: Middle lobe syndrome (MLS) in children is characterized by a spectrum of clinical and radiographic presentations, from persistent or recurrent atelectasis to pneumonitis and bronchiectasis of the right middle lobe (RML) and/or lingula. This study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of early intervention, including fiberoptic bronchoscopy (FOB), in the development of bronchiectasis in MLS.

Design: Children with atelectasis of the RML and/or lingula persisting for > 1 month or recurring two or more times despite conventional treatment underwent high-resolution CT (HRCT) scanning and FOB. Appropriate treatment and follow-up were provided, and the effect of the duration of symptoms on clinical outcome and the development of bronchiectasis was investigated. The patient cohort was retrospectively reviewed.

Patients: We evaluated 55 children with MLS. The median age at diagnosis, duration of symptoms, and duration of clinical deterioration before diagnosis were 5.5 years (range, 3 months to 12 years), 14.5 months (range, 3 to 48 months), and 8 months (range, 3 to 36 months), respectively.

Measurements and results: FOB revealed marked obstruction in two children (ie, a foreign body and an endobronchial tumor) and positive findings for a culture of BAL fluid in 49.1% of patients. The remaining 53 patients were followed up for a median duration of 24 months (range, 5 to 96 months). The clinical outcome was “cure” in 60.4% of patients, “improvement” in 32.1% of patients, and “no change” in the remaining patients. Bronchiectasis was documented prior to FOB by HRCT scan in 15 patients (27.3%). The duration of the deterioration of symptoms prior to presentation positively correlated with the development of bronchiectasis (p = 0.03) and an unfavorable clinical outcome (ie, improvement or no change) [p = 0.02]; a positive correlation was also found between the duration of symptoms and the development of bronchiectasis (p = 0.04).

Conclusions: Timely medical intervention in patients with MLS that includes FOB with BAL prevents bronchiectasis that may be responsible for an ultimately unfavorable outcome.

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