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Risk stratification in endoscopic airway surgery: is inpatient observation necessary?

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Published:25th Mar 2020


To compare post-operative complication rates between inpatient and outpatient endoscopic airway surgery in patients with laryngotracheal stenosis. Secondary objectives included characterization of a cohort of patients with this disease.


Retrospective review of patients with laryngotracheal stenosis in a tertiary care laryngology practice over a 5-year period.


Ninety-one patients underwent 223 endoscopic airway surgeries. Of 114 outpatient interventions, 1 patient (0.8%) sought emergent medical care following discharge for respiratory distress. Of 109 procedures resulting in admission, no patients required transfer to a higher level of care, endotracheal intubation or placement of a surgical airway. There was no statistically significant difference in complication rates between patients treated as outpatients or inpatients (p?=?0.33, chi square). There were no cardiopulmonary events. There were no pneumothoraces despite frequent use of jet ventilation. The most common etiologic category was idiopathic (58%), followed by granulomatosis with polyangiitis (16%) and history of tracheotomy (12%). Most patients with idiopathic disease were female (p?<?0.001, Fisher's exact test).


Patients undergoing endoscopic surgery for airway stenosis rarely have post-operative complications, and outpatient surgery appears to be a safe alternative to post-operative admission and observation.

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