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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557On-line version ISSN 1678-4782


VERAS, Tiago N. et al. Plastic bronchitis in a child with thalassemia alpha. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2005, vol.81, n.6, pp.499-502. ISSN 0021-7557.

OBJECTIVE: Plastic bronchitis is an unusual condition in children, associated with formation of mucofibrinous casts and mucous plugging of the tracheobronchial tree. Given that this illness is part of the differential diagnosis of acute respiratory failure, early treatment is important for improved prognosis. The aim of this report is to describe a case of plastic bronchitis in a child with alpha-thalassemia that was treated successfully with endoscopy. DESCRIPTION: A three year old, black, male child, previously healthy, presented with acute respiratory failure and a chest x-ray showing pulmonary atelectasis. There was no evidence of respiratory symptoms or previous allergy state. The diagnosis of plastic bronchitis was made using flexible and rigid bronchoscopy, and confirmed by histopathologic findings. The child progressed well, treatment was based on supportive care and antibiotics were not used. Ten days after discharge, radiographic appearance was normal. Alpha thalassemia was diagnosed through hemoglobin electrophoresis. COMMENTS: Plastic bronchitis is clinically important because has similar presentation to other prevalent diseases, such as foreign body aspiration and asthma. When plastic bronchitis is suspected, endoscopy is indicated in order to confirm diagnosis and define treatment. Plastic bronchitis has been previously described in patients with cystic fibrosis, cardiac surgery and sickle cell disease. In this case, an association with alpha-thalassemia was observed.

Keywords : Plastic bronchitis; foreign body; bronchoscopy; thalassemia.

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