Author(s): Jewett BS, Shockley WW, Rutledge R
External laryngeal trauma (ELT) is a rare but clinically important injury. OBJECTIVE: To perform the first population-based, time series analysis of the epidemiology, management, and outcomes of ELT using an 11-state, inpatient sample database containing more than 54 million patients. PATIENTS: Three hundred ninety-two patients with a primary or secondary diagnosis of ELT were identified. Over a 5-year period, the incidence of ELT in this series was 1/137,000. The mean (+/-SD) age was 37 (+/-7) years, and the overall mortality rate was 2.04%. Two hundred forty-eight patients required surgical intervention. RESULTS: The average length of stay for 67 patients not requiring surgical intervention for any injury was 3 (+/-2) days, with no mortality. One hundred eighty patients underwent endoscopy, with 14 requiring tracheotomy alone and 57 requiring tracheotomy plus laryngeal repair. The average length of stay and the mortality rate were higher in these latter groups. Overall, 139 patients underwent tracheotomy, with a mortality rate of 5%, while 96 patients underwent laryngeal repair, with a mortality rate of 1%. Surgical treatment was performed in 140 patients with ELT within 24 hours after presentation, while another 60 received treatment within 48 hours. Associated injuries included skull base or intracranial injury (13%), open neck injury (9%), cervical spine injury (8%), and esophageal or pharyngeal injury (3%). CONCLUSION: External laryngeal trauma is a rare injury, with most patients requiring surgical intervention.