Emergency evaluation of airway compromise secondary to head and neck lesions has been routinely performed with a CT scan followed by fiberoptic endoscopy. Fiberoptic endoscopy requires the use of sedation, which in a patient with airway compromise may precipitate further airway obstruction. CT Virtual Endoscopy (CTVE) provides a non-invasive means of evaluating the airway while simultaneously studying the head and neck soft tissues. We performed CTVE on 37 patients with history of airway compromise. Direct axial images as well as coronal and sagittal reconstructions were obtained and evaluated. Virtual bronchoscopic images of the tracheobronchial lumen were generated, employing General Electric Navigator Software and read on a standard workstation. The airway was effectively evaluated in all patients. There were no complications during the CT examinations. The findings delineate lesions requiring immediate open intervention or can direct the safe completion of subsequent FOB. CTVE is a safe, non-invasive and cost effective means of evaluating the airways in selective cases. It offers 24-h availability, no need for sedation, and the ability to evaluate submucosal and lymph node extension of lesions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Airway obstruction
- Laryngeal neoplasms
- Tracheal stenosis
- Vocal cord paralysis
- X-ray computed tomography scanners