Inflammatory endobronchial polyps in childhood: Clinical spectrum and possible link to mechanical ventilation
Inflammatory polyps of the airways are now regarded as histopathologically distinct nonneoplastic endobronchial lesions, which in adults are associated with a variety of chronic inflammatory insults. However, their clinical presentation in the pediatric population is extremely rare, with the etiology of such polyps poorly defined. The clinical and histopathological data from four pediatric patients, identified in the histopathology files of the Royal Brompton Hospital, were retrospectively reviewed. Three out of 4 patients had a history of mechanical ventilation in the neonatal period. In these 3 patients, the polyps were all situated in the proximal airways on the right side. These 3 patients presented at 6 weeks, 7 weeks, and 2 years, respectively, and were successfully treated by polypectomy at rigid bronchoscopy, with subsequent return to normality. One patient, presenting at 12 years of age without history of iatrogenic intervention, underwent a left lower lobectomy for a polyp sited in a segmental bronchus. Presentation in 3 of the 4 patients was with lobar collapse. The fourth patient presented with hyperinflation. We conclude that inflammatory endobronchial polyps may be associated with a history of mechanical ventilation in the neonatal period, polyp formation perhaps being secondary to airway trauma. The small caliber of the main airways in neonates may also be a contributory factor in presentation.