Laryngeal Trauma in Port Harcourt: A Review of 68 Cases

Onotai L.O, Nwogbo A.C


Background: Head and neck injuries with associated laryngeal trauma appear to be on the increase
nowadays with most patients presenting with features of acute upper airway obstruction. This
study determined the sources of laryngeal trauma, clinical profile, complications and management
Patients and methods: This was a retrospective study carried out in the University of Port
Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH). Case notes of patients that presented through the accident
and emergency department with neck trauma involving the larynx and surrounding tissues
between September 2004 and August 2009 were retrieved and used for this study. Out of 200
patients only 68 had neck trauma with laryngeal involvement. Patients who had laryngeal trauma
from corrosives were excluded from this study. Demographic data, cause of injury, clinical
features, complications and outcome of treatment were recorded and analyzed.
Results: Out of 200 patients with various neck traumas, 68 (34%) were noted to have laryngeal
involvement. The age range of the patients was 15-65years. The younger age groups were mostly
affected, especially males. Gunshot wounds and Road Traffic Accident (RTA) dominated (n=58,
85.30%) the picture and presenting with upper airway obstruction. Majority (n=60, 88.24%) of
patients were successfully managed without complication. No mortality was recorded in our series
but a few (n=8, 11.76%) had chronic laryngotracheal stenosis.
Conclusion: Trauma to the larynx arising from gunshot wounds to the neck due to violence was
found to be a major problem among the youth in Port Harcourt. Government intervention with
gainful employment and provision of infrastructure are strongly advised to reduce the incidence of
laryngeal trauma.


Laryngeal trauma, Head and neck injuries, Upper airway obstruction, Port Harcourt

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