Management of anterior mediastinal masses in children.

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DOI: 10.1055/s-0031-1279745


BACKGROUND: Children with anterior mediastinal masses are at risk for life-threatening airway compromise during anesthesia, and can present a diagnostic and management challenge for pediatric surgeons.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective chart review of all children presenting with an anterior mediastinal mass from 1994-2009. Parameters studied included demographics, historical and physical findings at diagnosis, radiographic evidence of airway compression, diagnostic studies, diagnosis, and complications.

RESULTS: There were 26 patients with anterior mediastinal masses over a 15-year period. The mean age was 11.3 years, and there were no gender differences. The diagnoses were lymphoma (62%, 16/26), leukemia (15%, 4/26), and other (23%, 6/26). Diagnosis was made by CBC/peripheral smear in 2/4 patients with leukemia, by bone marrow biopsy in 2/4 patients with leukemia, by thoracentesis in 3/16 patients with lymphoma, by lymph node biopsies in 6/16 patients with lymphoma, and by biopsy of a mediastinal mass in 7/16 patients with lymphoma and in 6/6 patients with other diagnoses. Radiographic evidence of airway compression was seen in 62% (16/26) of children. Only 12% (3/26) had a tracheal cross-sectional area (TCA)

CONCLUSION: Anterior mediastinal masses in children should be approached in a step-wise fashion with multi-disciplinary involvement, starting with the least invasive techniques and progressing cautiously. The surgeon should have a well-defined and preoperatively established contingency plan if these children require general anesthesia for diagnosis.

Journal Title

European journal of pediatric surgery : official journal of Austrian Association of Pediatric Surgery ... [et al] = Zeitschrift fur Kinderchirurgie





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MeSH Keywords

Airway Obstruction; Child; Female; Humans; Male; Mediastinal Neoplasms; Mediastinum; Retrospective Studies