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Blunt laryngeal trauma secondary to sporting injuries

D Mendis, J A Anderson
Journal of Laryngology and Otology 2017, 131 (8): 728-735

BACKGROUND: Laryngeal injury after blunt trauma is uncommon, but can cause catastrophic airway obstruction and significant morbidity in voice and airway function. This paper aims to discuss a case series of sports-related blunt laryngeal trauma patients and describe the results of a thorough literature review.

METHOD: Retrospective case-based analysis of laryngeal trauma referrals over six years to a tertiary laryngology centre.

RESULTS: Twenty-eight patients were identified; 13 (46 per cent) sustained sports-related trauma. Most were young males, presenting with dysphonia, some with airway compromise (62 per cent). Nine patients were diagnosed with a laryngeal fracture. Four patients were managed conservatively and nine underwent surgery. Post-treatment, the majority of patients achieved good voice outcomes (83 per cent) and all had normal airway function.

CONCLUSION: Sports-related neck trauma can cause significant injury to the laryngeal framework and endolaryngeal soft tissues, and most cases require surgical intervention. Clinical presentation may be subtle; a systematic approach along with a high index of suspicion is essential, as early diagnosis and treatment have been reported to improve airway and voice outcome.


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