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Difficult intubation in a neonate: a diagnostic dilemma


Difficult intubation in neonates has innumerable aetiologies. It especially poses a formidable challenge to save a newborn baby immediately after birth where antenatal details are unavailable. A late preterm neonate was born limp and apnoeic. Several attempts to intubate the baby were unsuccessful. Possibility of subglottic obstruction was considered. The baby died of severe perinatal asphyxia. Autopsy showed a mass around the airway which turned out to be ectopic thymus on histopathology. Ectopic thymus can present as periglottic mass without externally visible cervical swelling and can cause difficult intubation which may lead to serious adverse outcome including death if not anticipated early and managed accordingly.

  • neonatal intensive care
  • congenital disorders
  • neonatal health

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