JAMA Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
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IMPORTANCE: Children with Klippel-Feil syndrome (KFS), characterized principally by abnormal fusion of 2 or more cervical vertebrae, may have many additional congenital anomalies. The overall prevalence of otolaryngologic manifestations among patients with KFS has not been previously characterized. OBJECTIVE: To define the otolaryngologic diagnoses made and procedures performed in95 patients with KFS, which, to our knowledge, is the largest series of this challenging patient population published to date. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: For this retrospective review, all patients with KFS who underwent otolaryngology consultation at our institution over a 26-year period (January 1989 to December 2015) were included. Patients were identified using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes and were confirmed through individual medical record review. Relevant otolaryngologic diagnoses and procedures were extracted using ICD-9 and Current Procedural Terminology codes, respectively. Selected demographics included age, sex, number of clinic visits, and number of procedures. MAINOUTCOMES ANDMEASURES: The primary outcomes were the otolaryngologic diagnoses and procedures associated with the KFS patient population; the secondary outcome was Cormack-Lehane classification documented during airway procedures. RESULTS: Overall, 95 patients with KFS were included in this study (55 males [58%] and 40 females [42%]); mean (range) age at time of presentation to the otorhinolaryngology clinic was 5.8 (birth-23.0) years. Each patient with KFS averaged 8 visits to the otorhinolaryngology office and 5 otolaryngologic diagnoses. The most common diagnosis was conductive hearing loss (n = 49 [52%]), followed by sensorineural hearing loss (n = 38 [40%]), and dysphagia (n = 37 [39%]). Sixty-two (65%) patients underwent otolaryngologic procedures, with 44 (46%) undergoing multiple procedures. The most common procedure was tympanostomy tube placement (n = 36 [38%]), followed by office flexible endoscopy (n = 23 [24%]). Twelve of the20 patients who underwent direct laryngoscopy had documented Cormack-Lehane classification; 5 of 12 patients (42%) had a compromised view (grade 2, 3, or 4) of the larynx. Three patients required tracheotomies at this institution for airway stabilization purposes; each had severe upper airway obstruction leading to respiratory failure. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Patients with KFS require consultation for a variety of otolaryngologic conditions. Among these, hearing loss is the most common, but airway issues related to cervical spine fusion are the most challenging. Formulating an appropriate care plan in advance is paramount, even for routine otolaryngology procedures.