Background: Laryngeal cleft (LC) is a rare congenital anomaly manifesting in a variety of symptoms including swallowing disorders and aspirations, dyspnea, stridor and hoarseness. The mild forms (types I-II) may be underdiagnosed, leading to protracted symptomatology and morbidity.
Objectives: To evaluate the diagnostic process, clinical course, management and outcome in children with type I-II laryngeal clefts.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective case analysis for the years 2005–2012 in a tertiary referral center.
Results: Seven children were reviewed: five boys and two girls, aged from birth to 5 years. The most common presenting symptoms were cough, aspirations and pneumonia. Evaluation procedures included fiber-optic laryngoscopy (FOL), direct laryngoscopy (DL) and videofluoroscopy. Other pathologies were seen in three children. Six children underwent successful endoscopic surgery and one child was treated conservatively. The postoperative clinical course was uneventful in most of the cases.
Conclusions: Types I-II LC should be considered in the differential diagnosis of children presenting with protracted cough and aspirations. DL is crucial for establishing the diagnosis. Endoscopic surgery is safe and should be applied promptly when conservative measures fail.