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Plastic bronchitis and the role of bronchoscopy in the acute chest syndrome of sickle cell disease.


STUDY OBJECTIVES:To review the prevalence, clinical features, and role of bronchoscopy in patients with plastic bronchitis during the acute chest syndrome (ACS) of sickle cell disease (SCD). DESIGN:Eight-year review of clinical experience. SETTING:Tertiary referral children's hospital. PATIENTS:Twenty-six pediatric inpatients with 29 ACS episodes requiring diagnostic bronchoscopy. RESULTS:Of the pediatric inpatients with ACS who underwent bronchoscopy, plastic bronchitis was diagnosed in 21 of 29 episodes (72%). There was no difference in clinical features between the patients with and without plastic bronchitis. Bronchoscopy was an essential diagnostic tool, but its therapeutic benefits were doubtful. CONCLUSIONS:This is the first report of the prevalence of plastic bronchitis in patients with ACS of SCD. In our patient population, this condition was found to be common. The role of diagnostic bronchoscopy is essential. A large series, multicenter study is required to determine whether bronchoscopy and BAL are therapeutically beneficial when added to currently practiced supportive care.

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