Long-Term Laryngotracheal Complications After Inhalation Injury: A Scoping Review

Emily Zhen, Dylan Misso, Suzanne Rea, Shyan Vijayasekaran, Mark Fear, Fiona Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Long-term laryngotracheal complications (LTLC) after inhalation injury (II) are an under-recognized condition in patients with burns. The purpose of this study was to systematically review all available evidence on LTLC after II and identify gaps in knowledge to guide the direction of future research. A scoping review was performed to synthesize all available evidence on LTLC after II, as guided by the question, "What are the LTLC after II, in patients with or without a history of translaryngeal intubation and/or tracheostomy?". MEDLINE, Web of Science, Ovid Embase, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar were searched for publications on this topic. Of the 3567 citations screened, a total of 153 full-text articles were assessed for eligibility and 49 were included in the scoping review. The overall level of evidence was low, with case reports constituting 46.7% of all included human studies. The lesions were most frequently in the trachea (36.9%), followed by the glottis (34.7%) and subglottis (19.0%). LTLC occur in 4.8 to 6.5% of patients after II and these complications are under-recognized in burns patients. The risk factors for LTLC include high-grade II, elevated initial inflammatory responses, prolonged translaryngeal intubation, and a history of tracheostomy. The goal of management is to restore airway patency, preserve voice quality, and restore normal diet and swallow function. There is limited high-level evidence on LTLC, particularly with regards to long-term functional morbidity in voice and swallow. Large, prospective studies are required to address this gap in knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-392
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Burn Care & Research
Issue number2
Early online date24 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2023


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