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Brazilian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology

Print version ISSN 1808-8694On-line version ISSN 1808-8686


VIDIGAL, Bruno César Ladeira et al. Are computed tomography 3D measurements of the upper airways in mouth-breathing children in agreement with the ENT clinical diagnosis of obstruction?. Braz. j. otorhinolaryngol. [online]. 2019, vol.85, n.2, pp.213-221.  Epub Apr 29, 2019. ISSN 1808-8694.


Imaging studies have hystorically been used to support the clinical otorhinolaryngological evaluation of the upper respiratory tract for the diagnosis of obstructive causes of oral breathing.


The objective of this study was to compare 3D volumetric measurements of nasal cavity, nasopharynx and oropharynx of obstructed mouth-breathing children with measurements of non-obstructed mouth-breathing children.


This retrospective study included 25 mouth-breathing children aged 5-9 years evaluated by otorhinolaryngological clinical examination, flexible nasoendoscopy and full-head multi-slice computed tomography. Tomographic volumetric measurements and dichotomic otorhinolaryngological diagnosis (obstructed vs. non-obstructed) in three anatomical regions (the nasal cavity, nasopharynx and oropharynx) were compared and correlated. An independent sample t-test was used to assess the association between the 3D measurements of the upper airways and the otorhinolaryngological diagnosis of obstruction in the three anatomical regions. Inter- and intra-observer intraclass correlation coefficients were used to evaluate the reliability of the 3D measurements.


The intra-class correlation coefficients ranged from 0.97 to 0.99. An association was found between turbinate hypertrophy and nasal cavity volume reduction (p < 0.05) and between adenoid hyperplasia and nasopharynx volume reduction (p < 0.001). No association was found between palatine tonsil hyperplasia and oropharynx volume reduction.


(1) The nasal cavity volume was reduced when hypertrophic turbinates were diagnosed; (2) the nasopharynx was reduced when adenoid hyperplasia was diagnosed; and (3) the oropharynx volume of mouth-breathing children with tonsil hyperplasia was similar to that of non-obstructed mouth-breathing children. The adoption of the actual anatomy of the various compartments of the upper airway is an improvement to the evaluation method.

Keywords : Tomography; Mouth breathing; Nasal cavity; Oropharynx; Nasopharynx.

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