Airway Anomalies in Patients with 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome: A Scoping Review

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International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology


Objective: People with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) can present with a wide variety of findings. Various airway anomalies have been described intermittently within this syndrome, but this feature has not been extensively investigated. Increased provider awareness of these findings may help guide clinical decision-making and improve overall patient outcomes. The objectives of this review are to identify the types of airway anomalies in 22q11DS and the prevalence of airway anomalies within symptomatic individuals.

Methods: PubMed/MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, and EMBASE databases were searched in February 2022 for all available articles. Search terms included those that described 22q11DS or one of its synonymous conditions AND those that described airway anatomy and anomalies. The term airway anomaly was defined as any structural aberration in the conductive airway from the oral or nasal vestibule region to the mainstem bronchus. Studies were screened by two authors. A review of references was conducted. Eligible manuscripts underwent full-text review for quality appraisal and data extraction.

Results: From a total of 909 unique manuscripts, 58 studies were selected, describing 328 people. The prevalence of airway anomaly diagnosis within symptomatic individuals ranged from 14% to 74%. Twenty-two unique airway anomalies were described. Laryngeal web was the most frequently described anomaly, followed by airway malacia and subglottic stenosis. Laryngeal web was 40% sensitive for suggesting a diagnosis of 22q11DS. Among affected individuals, as many as 46% had multiple concomitant airway anomalies. Aside from respiratory symptoms, other features that prompted airway evaluation included difficult intubation or failed extubation.

Conclusion: The findings within this review support the notion that a wide variety of airway anomalies may be seen in people with 22q11DS and that these findings have been discovered frequently in those with airway symptoms. Providers should maintain a low threshold to perform an airway examination in those with 22q11DS, especially when airway symptoms are present.



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22q11.2 deletion syndrome, Airway anomalies, Airway malacia, DiGeorge syndrome, Laryngeal web, Velocardiofacial syndrome