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Background: The paediatric age group has very peculiar anatomic and physiologic airways therefore, obstruction which commonly occurs in this population, can pose serious challenges in this age group.
Aim: To study the pattern and aetiology of acute upper airway obstruction in the paediatric age group in University of Port Harcourt teaching hospital and to determine the place of tracheostomy in the management.
Patients and Methods: It is a descriptive hospital based study of all paediatric patients; aged 0-15 years with upper airway obstruction that presented to the ear, nose and throat department and the children emergency ward of university of Port Harcourt teaching hospital within the period of January 2014 to December 2019. Data on demographics, clinical presentations, causes and management were obtained using a Proforma. The diagnosis of upper airway obstruction is made in a child with any degree of respiratory difficulty with or without associated stridor or stertor arising from lesions above the thoracic inlet. Children with respiratory difficulty other than that from an upper airway obstruction were excluded from the study.
Data obtained were analyzed with the IBM statistical package for social sciences SPSS version 20. Results were presented in simple descriptive forms with tables.
Results: One hundred and sixty paediatric patients with upper air way obstruction with age ranging from 0-15 years were studied. The prevalence of upper airway obstruction was 1.87%. There were more males than females; male to female ratio was 1.2:1. Age group 4-7 years were the most affected, 43.75%. Foreign body aspiration was the commonest cause. Majority of the patients had tracheostomy done, 48.75%. Mortality was n=1(0.625%).
Conclusion: Upper air way obstruction among the paediatric age group is still common with foreign body aspiration as a very important cause in our setting. The very young are the most affected and tracheostomy appears to still be the main option of securing airway in these cases in our environment.
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