Computed tomography in children with esophageal and airway trauma

Tamar Ben-Ami, Judith Rozenman, Jacob Yahav, Meir Sagy, Zohar Barzilay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Computed tomography (CT) was used in five children, four with esophageal and one with airway trauma. The examination contributed valuable information that aided in planning and evaluating therapy: (1) it assessed mediastinal and pleural cavity involvement prior to surgery or drainage; (2) it evaluated the efficacy of drainage; (3) it gave excellent information about the position of chest tubes; and (4) it demonstrated unsuspected pneumothoraces, pleural effusion, pulmonary infiltrates, and lung perforation by a chest tube. In the postoperative assessment of laryngotracheal fracture, neck radiographs were useless since the airways were obliterated by hematomas and edema. In this situation, CT showed the position and state of the laryngeal cartilages. However, CT findings were not pathognomonic for esophageal tears or airway fractures. The primary diagnosis was still made by conventional radiography. Esophageal tears were accurately demonstrated by gastrografin swallow and the tracheolaryngeal fracture was diagnosed by a lateral neck radiograph-the state of the child permitting no lengthy workup. CT and conventional radiography with contrast studies play a complementary role in esophageal and airway trauma in children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)919-923
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1988


  • Esophageal perforation
  • airway injury


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