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Hoarseness in Children: Clinical Spectrum as seen in the Otorhinolaryngology Department of two Nigerian Tertiary Health Institutions

OGB Nwaorgu
NC Mgbor
PA Onakoya
KJ Ayodele
TS Ibekwe


Objectives: To document the clinical spectrum of hoarseness in children in two Nigerian tertiary health institutions with functional ORL services.

Methodology: This is a retrospective review of fifty-six children (age 0 — l5yrs) with hoarseness as their main symptom seen in the ORL departments of the University College Hospital Ibadan and University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu between 1998-2003.

Results: A total of 56 patients studied consisted of 33 males (58.93%) and 23 females (41.07%) with an overall mean age of 6.75 yrs (SD 4.49yrs) and age range 3 weeks to l5yrs. Mean duration of hoarseness before presentation was 8.33 months (SD 16.82 months) with a range of 1 day to 6yrs; 35 patients (62.5%) presented within 3 months of onset of their symptoms. The main causes of hoarseness in this study were recurrent respiratory papillomatosis 29(51.8%), Acute infections 9(16.1%) and Foreign bodies 8(14.3%). The two cases of diphtheria were the only fatalities recorded.

Conclusion: The causes of hoarseness in the child are varied and late presentation may worsen the prognosis. Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, acute laryngeal infections and foreign bodies are leading causes in our environment. Persistent hoarseness of more than three weeks should have detailed Otolaryngological evaluation.

Key Words: Hoarseness, Recurrent respiratory papillomnatosis, laryngoscopy, tracheostomy

Nig. J. Otorhinolaryngology Vol.1(1) 2004: 6-10