OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: There are limited data on laryngeal fracture presentation and management in US emergency departments (EDs). We aimed to characterize patients who are diagnosed with laryngeal fractures in the ED and identify management patterns.
STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective review of the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS) from 2009 to 2011.
METHODS: The NEDS was queried for patient visits with a primary diagnosis of open or closed laryngeal fracture (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes 807.5 and 807.6). Patient demographics, comorbidities, ED management, and hospital characteristics were extracted.
RESULTS: There were 3,102 ED visits with a diagnosis of laryngeal fracture during the study period. Mean patient age was 40.9 years (range, 3-93 years). The majority of patients were male (85.5%) and sustained a closed (vs. open) fracture (91.4%), with an overall mortality rate of 3.8%. The majority of patients were treated for more than one injury during the same visit (76.2%). Most patients were evaluated at a trauma hospital (53.9%), and most patients were admitted to the hospital (71.9%). Emergent intubation or tracheostomy was rarely reported (2.6% and 0.1% of all cases), and a minority of patients underwent fiberoptic flexible laryngoscopy in the ED (1.9%). Laryngeal fractures occurred more frequently during summer months (28.2%). Mean charge for the entirety of the ED stay was $4,957.34.
CONCLUSIONS: Laryngeal fracture is rare and frequently associated with other injuries. The frequency of emergent airway procedure, imaging, and flexible fiberoptic laryngoscopy is lower than expected, raising concerns about appropriate workup and management or recognition of injury in the ED setting.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: NA Laryngoscope, 2019.