In the context of prematurity, lethal congenital airways malforamtion can be masked by the symptoms of respiratory distress syndrome. A high index of suspicion is required. We present the case of a 28-week preterm infant, with atypical protracted respiratory insufficiency despite the escalation of mechanical ventilation. The possibility of airway obstruction was considered in view of severe chest retraction while on the mechanical ventilator. It was also difficult to pass suction catheters beyond a certain depth in the trachea; however, intubation of the upper trachea was accomplished twice without difficulty. Flexible bronchoscopy revealed complete tracheal ring with severe tracheal stenosis; there was no evidence of tracheo-oesophageal fistula. Due to advanced multi-organ dysfunction at diagnosis, a decision was made with the family to re-orientate from intensive care to compassionate care. Ethical considerations in similar cases should incorporate the improved outcomes of prematurity and recent advances in tracheal reconstruction.
- nose and throat/otolaryngology
- end of life decisions (palliative care)
- neonatal intensive care
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Contributors NN generated the idea of the case report, prepared all the references needed and wrote the first draft. NM obtained the consent from parents and provided all the needed references. HA drafted the hospital course and case summary together with the investigation needed. NN and HA drafted the discussion, critically reviewed the article and finally approved the version for publication.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Obtained.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.