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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence referral guidelines prompting urgent two-week referrals were updated in 2015. Additional symptoms with a lower threshold of 3 per cent positive predictive values were integrated. This study aimed to examine whether current pan-London urgent referral guidelines for suspected head and neck cancer lead to efficient and accurate referrals by assessing frequency of presenting symptoms and risk factors, and examining their correlation with positive cancer diagnoses.
The risk factors and symptoms of 984 consecutive patients (over a six-month period in 2016) were collected retrospectively from urgent referral letters to University College London Hospital for suspected head and neck cancer.
Only 37 referrals (3.76 per cent) resulted in a head and neck cancer diagnosis. Four of the 23 recommended symptoms demonstrated statistically significant results. Nine of the 23 symptoms had a positive predictive value of over 3 per cent.
The findings indicate that the current referral guidelines are not effective at detecting patients with cancer. Detection rates have decreased from 10–15 per cent to 3.76 per cent. A review of the current head and neck cancer referral guidelines is recommended, along with further data collection for comparison.
Many people seek health information from internet sources. Understanding this behaviour can help inform healthcare delivery. This study aimed to review Google Trends as a method for investigating internet-based information-seeking behaviour related to throat cancer in terms of quantity, content and thematic analysis.
Data was collected using Google Trends. Normalised data was created using the search terms ‘throat cancer’, ‘cancer’, ‘HPV’, ‘laryngeal cancer’ and ‘head and neck cancer’. The search data was used to analyse the temporal and geographical interest pattern of these terms from 2004 to 2015.
Three important peaks in searches for ‘throat cancer’ were identified. The first and greatest increase in interest was in September 2010, and there were also peaks in June 2013 and in October 2011.
Internet-search analysis can provide an insight into the information-seeking behaviour of the public. Mass media can hugely affect this information-seeking behaviour. Possessing tools to investigate and understand information-seeking behaviour may be used to improve healthcare delivery.
Barbed pharyngoplasty aims to reduce lateral retropalatal obstruction by pulling up the soft palate anterolaterally. However, barbed pharyngoplasty can be less efficient in some cases of obstructive sleep apnoea, especially in the presence of an elongated uvula with redundant tissues over it. This paper describes an attempt to overcome this drawback by modifying barbed pharyngoplasty, using a single continuous suture technique.
Thirty-four patients were assigned to two groups based on the surgical procedure performed. Those with an elongated uvula were treated with modified barbed pharyngoplasty (n = 17); the others were treated with barbed pharyngoplasty (n = 17). Pre- and post-operative quality of life questionnaires, and questionnaires concerning diet, pain and return to activity, were completed. Pre- and post-operative polysomnography was performed as an objective measurement.
There was no significant difference between barbed pharyngoplasty and modified barbed pharyngoplasty in terms of outcomes. However, reductions in the apnoea/hypopnea index, Epworth Sleepiness Scale and snoring visual analogue scale scores were greater in the modified barbed pharyngoplasty group.
Modified barbed pharyngoplasty is a safe and feasible method, and eliminates the need for surgical resection of the redundant soft tissues around the uvula while lifting up the uvula base.
Parapharyngeal space biopsy is an important investigation in the management of parapharyngeal space tumours. These tumours are relatively rare and the surgeon is often faced with a wide range of differential diagnoses. There are several ways to access the parapharyngeal space, with varying degrees of associated morbidity.
This paper describes a seldom used, but a simple and safe, image-guided endoscopic approach to parapharyngeal space biopsy that enables tissue to be obtained transnasally. The procedure is conducted under general anaesthesia using computed tomography image guidance via the LandmarX system, with transnasal access to the parapharyngeal space achieved using a sampling needle.
This procedure is relatively simple, safe and reproducible. It is a less invasive approach to parapharyngeal space biopsy, and one which has been successfully used by the senior author for years without any significant morbidity.
Transnasal image-guided endoscopic aspiration or biopsy of the parapharyngeal space is a novel technique that has not been previously described.
Platelet-rich plasma is a novel material that is being used more frequently in many surgical specialties.
A literature review on the current and potential uses of platelet-rich plasma in otolaryngology was performed.
There is limited evidence on the use of platelet-rich plasma in otolaryngology compared with other specialties: only 11 studies on various subspecialties (otology, rhinology and laryngology) were included in the final review.
Based on the limited number of studies, we cannot draw safe conclusions about the value of platelet-rich plasma in otolaryngology. Nevertheless, the available literature suggests that platelet-rich plasma holds promise for future research and may have a number of clinical applications.
Endoscopic stapling has become the primary procedure for pharyngeal pouch surgery because it is quick, less invasive and safe, but less is known about long-term outcomes.
Medical records were reviewed to compare rates of morbidity, operative failure, symptom control and revision surgery between open and closed procedures.
A total of 120 pharyngeal pouch procedures, carried out on 97 patients from 2000 to 2014, were studied. These included 80 endoscopic stapling and 40 open procedures. Twelve patients had complications (15 per cent) and there was one mortality (1.2 per cent) in the endoscopic stapling group. Ten patients (25 per cent) developed complications in the open procedure group, with no mortalities. Symptom recurrence was significantly greater in the endoscopic stapling group (26 per cent) than in the open procedure group (7.5 per cent). Multiple surgical procedures were required for 22 endoscopically stapled patients (32 per cent); none were required in the open procedure group. Although the male-to-female ratio for pharyngeal pouch incidence was 2:1, the ratio for multiple surgical procedures was 10:1.
Endoscopic stapling outcomes are not as good as those following an open approach on long-term follow up, and the early advantages are eliminated if pouch excision is avoided.
This study aimed to describe total volume and cross-sectional area measurement changes in obstructive sleep apnoea patients associated with a supine versus an upright position.
A retrospective chart review of patients who underwent cone beam computed tomography in upright and supine positions was performed, and the images were analysed.
Five obstructive sleep apnoea patients (all male) underwent both upright and supine cone beam computed tomography imaging. Mean age was 35.0 ± 9.3 years, mean body mass index was 28.1 ± 2.7 kg/m2 and mean apnoea–hypopnoea index was 39.3 ± 23.0 per hour. The airway was smaller when patients were in a supine compared with an upright position, as reflected by decreases in the following airway measurements: total volume; posterior nasal spine, uvula tip, retrolingual and tongue base (not significant) cross-sectional areas; and site of the minimum cross-sectional area (of the overall airway). Total airway volume decreased by 32.6 per cent and cross-sectional area measurements decreased between 32.3 and 75.9 per cent when patients were in a supine position.
In this case series, the airway of obstructive sleep apnoea patients was significantly smaller when patients were in a supine compared with an upright position.
Zenker's diverticulum is a propulsion diverticulum in the pharynx. Current practice for the management of symptomatic pharyngeal pouches includes endoscopic pharyngeal stapling, performed trans-orally, and external approaches via a cervical incision. There is no published recommendation on how to approach diverticula with extension into the mediastinum, which may not be adequately treated with the above methods.
We describe two cases in which thoracoscopic mobilisation of Zenker's diverticulum was performed using video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery together with traditional transcervical mobilisation and excision of the pouch. This allowed safe surgical access to the inferior limit of the pouch, and delivery of the sac into the neck incision following division of any inferior adhesions (to the great vessels in one case).
In the first report of this technique, we describe a thorough, safe method of dissecting large diverticula that extend into the mediastinum, which minimises the risk to mediastinal structures.
To evaluate the incidence of pharyngocutaneous fistula after pharyngolaryngectomy with and without a Montgomery salivary stent.
Retrospective analysis of patients with factors that predispose to the development of pharyngocutaneous fistula (i.e. disease extending to the supraglottic region, base of the tongue or pyriform sinuses, and/or radiochemotherapy).
Between 2002 and 2008, 85 pharyngolaryngectomies were performed in our clinic. Of these patients, 31 were at increased risk of fistula development, of whom 45 per cent developed fistulas post-operatively. This subgroup of 31 patients was compared with a second subgroup of 22 patients at high risk of fistula development, treated between 2009 and 2011 with pharyngolaryngectomy and with a Montgomery salivary stent placed in advance during closure of the neopharynx.
Statistical analysis showed a significant reduction in the rate of fistula development, from 45 to 9 per cent (p < 0.01), with application of the salivary stent.
These data confirm the preventive effect of a salivary stent placed during pharyngolaryngectomy, for patients at high risk of fistula development.
This chapter introduces some of the more common otolaryngology instruments used during procedures involving the larynx, trachea, cervical esophagus, pharynx, and paranasal sinuses. Surgery of the larynx, pharynx, and trachea begins with securing the airway with an appropriate device that will allow for adequate ventilation. Many cases of septoplasty and rhinoplasty are performed under local anesthesia with varying degrees of sedation. Transoral robotic surgery is an emerging technology that is becoming more common at tertiary care centers. Surgery of the upper aerodigestive tract deals with diverse pathology that requires a variety of special surgical instrumentation. Given the demands of the surgeon and anesthesiologist, it is crucial for optimal patient care that open communication before, during, and after the procedure be the standard operating protocol. Basic understanding of otolaryngologic instrumentation as described in the chapter will hopefully allow for mutual understanding between the surgical and anesthesia teams.
Carotid blow-out syndrome is one of the most devastating complications of head and neck carcinoma. It usually occurs as a post-operative complication or when the tumour compromises the vascular axis.
Methods and results:
We report two patients who suffered carotid blow-out syndrome but who did not have the usual predisposing factors. Both patients had a pharyngolaryngeal carcinoma that was treated with chemoradiotherapy. Residual non-tumoural ulceration was seen along the lateral wall of the hypopharynx in both cases. This ulceration eventually reached the vascular axis, precipitating carotid rupture and death.
Residual non-tumoural ulceration of the lateral wall of the hypopharynx after chemoradiotherapy should be considered with the utmost caution. Once persistence of the tumour is excluded, surgery is indicated to protect the vascular axis, in order to prevent carotid blow-out syndrome.
Dyskeratosis congenita is a rare, inherited bone marrow failure syndrome characterised by telomerase dysfunction. This study aimed to demonstrate the importance of recognising that this condition predisposes individuals to head and neck malignancy, and also to discuss the challenges of treatment in such individuals.
We present the case of a 30-year-old man with dyskeratosis congenita, who presented with a squamous cell carcinoma of the posterior pharyngeal wall. The patient was treated successfully with surgical resection.
Dyskeratosis congenita is a rare condition; however, it is vital to recognise the increased risk of upper aerodigestive tract cancers in these patients. Management of such cancers can be particularly difficult in view of the need to avoid DNA-damaging therapies such as radiotherapy.
This study calculated the comparability of two throat symptom assessment scales devised to evaluate either laryngopharyngeal reflux or globus.
United Kingdom hospital out-patient departments.
A total of 334 subjects, with and without throat symptoms, completed the Reflux Symptom Index and/or the Glasgow and Edinburgh Throat Scale. The following were calculated for the resultant data: Cronbach's α coefficient, principal component analysis, Kaiser normalisation, varimax and oblimin rotation, and eigenvalues.
Analysis of data from the Reflux Symptom Index and the Glasgow and Edinburgh Throat Scale revealed clearly similar symptom domains regarding (1) coughing and blockage, and (2) globus or postnasal drip or throat-clearing, as did combined analysis of their amalgamated items. Both instruments had good overall internal consistency (α = 0.75 and 0.81, respectively). The ‘heartburn or reflux’ item in the Reflux Symptom Index mapped poorly to each underlying factor.
The most commonly used laryngopharyngeal reflux and globus assessment questionnaires appear to detect very similar symptom clusters. The management of throat disorders may previously have been over-reliant on the presenting pattern of throat symptoms. Our findings indicate a need to revisit the traditional clinical classification of throat symptoms.
This case series report aims to raise awareness of the association between supraglottic infection and abscess formation, which has been rarely documented.
We report a series of four patients who developed cervical abscesses following supraglottic infection. The diagnosis was confirmed by imaging in three patients, and by incision and drainage of pus at direct laryngoscopy in one.
All four patients were treated with intravenous antibiotics, steroids and humidification; two also underwent surgical drainage of pus. All made an uneventful recovery.
The factors that lead to neck abscess formation are poorly understood. Physicians should always be aware of this potential complication. If it is suspected, appropriate neck imaging should be undertaken, after excluding airway copromise; this will aid early diagnosis and treatment.
This study was designed to evaluate the efficacy and morbidity of immediate tonsillectomy used to treat peritonsillar abscess (quinsy) and parapharyngeal abscess.
Subjects and method:
This four-year, retrospective study was based on 31 patients hospitalised in a university hospital ENT and head and neck surgery department for peritonsillar and/or parapharyngeal abscess. All patients underwent immediate, bilateral tonsillectomy. The length of hospital stay, duration of antibiotic therapy, microbiological findings, complications, and the time to complete recovery and oropharyngeal healing were recorded.
The patients' mean post-tonsillectomy hospital stay was 2.84 days (median: 3 days). No post-operative haemorrhage was observed. All patients were considered to be cured at the day 10 follow-up visit, and complete oropharyngeal healing was observed at the day 21 visit. The duration of antibiotic therapy ranged from 10 to 15 days (mean: 11.5 days; median: 10 days).
Discussion and conclusion:
Immediate tonsillectomy appears to be a safe and effective surgical technique for the management of peritonsillar and parapharyngeal abscess; in particular, it markedly reduces patients' hospital stay (when performed early in the course of the disease) and duration of antibiotic therapy. Immediate tonsillectomy has become the first-line treatment for parapharyngeal abscess and several types of peritonsillar abscess in our department.
Deformities of the carotid artery are rare. Tortuosity, kinking and coiling of the internal carotid artery may be observed with advancing age. A tortuous internal carotid artery may cause an abnormal sensation in the throat. In the early twentieth century, there were several reported cases of fatal haemorrhage during pharyngeal surgical procedures, because this condition went undetected.
Method and results:
We present two cases of tortuosity of the right internal carotid artery. Both women complained of abnormal throat sensations. Endoscopic studies and radiological examinations revealed tortuous right internal carotid arteries presenting as pulsatile masses. A literature review revealed that, in most reported cases, this deformity occurred on the right side. We believe that the defect and its right-sided predominance can be attributed to anatomical influences and factors affecting blood pressure.
In most reported cases of tortuous internal carotid artery, the defect occurred on the right side and patients complained of an abnormal sensation in the throat. This information is useful in the diagnosis of this condition. It is important for otolaryngologists to recognise this anomaly, because fatal haemorrhage can occur in patients with this condition during surgical procedures on the pharynx.
We report a rare and unusual case of a patient with an ingested fishbone which migrated from the oropharynx to the anterior compartment of the retropharyngeal space and then to the deep neck space in the nasopharynx (i.e. the carotid space). This report aims to describe a successful, minimally invasive method of foreign body removal which avoided both major skull base surgery and any potential life-threatening complications. A secondary aim is to highlight the role of intra-operative fluoroscopy, an under-used tool.
We present a 67-year-old man with a history of fish bone impaction but no fish bone visible on plain X-ray or flexible endoscopy. The diagnosis of fish bone lodged in the retropharyngeal space was confirmed by computed tomography. Surgical exploration of the anterior retropharyngeal space failed to locate the fish bone, as it had migrated to a new, unknown location. Intra-operative fluoroscopy was vital for the removal of the fish bone, as it was impossible to see with the naked eye and had migrated from its previously imaged position. The fish bone was finally retrieved bimanually using external pressure on the submandibular region, which displaced the fish bone, and fluoroscopic guidance, which assisted its removal from the nasopharyngeal lumen.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported case of bimanual, intra-operative, fluoroscopy-guided, intra-luminal removal of a migratory fish bone from the deep neck space in this region of the nasopharynx.
To assess the technical success, clinical outcomes and complications of radiologically guided balloon dilatation of benign strictures developing after treatment for head and neck cancer.
Materials and methods:
Forty-six balloon dilatations were performed in 20 patients. All dilatations were performed over a guidewire.
Technical success was 100 per cent. Fifteen of the 20 patients demonstrated clinical improvement in dysphagia scores. Improvement in dysphagia was temporary in all patients (median 102 days), with multiple dilatations usually required (total dilatations ranged from one to seven). Immediate complications were encountered in six of the 46 (13 per cent) dilatations and were all minor. Late complications occurred after two procedures (4 per cent): localised perforation (later complicated by secondary infection) and recurrence of a previous, small, pharyngo-cutaneous fistula.
Radiologically guided balloon dilatation is straightforward to perform and is well tolerated, but there is a small risk of perforation. Relief of symptoms is likely to be temporary, requiring multiple subsequent dilatations. A minority of patients will obtain no symptomatic relief.
We describe a case of an internal carotid artery loop presenting as an oropharyngeal mass.
Case report and review of current literature.
A 71-year-old woman presented with an asymptomatic oropharyngeal mass. This was an incidental finding by her general practitioner and was urgently referred as a suspicious lesion. A magnetic resonance imaging scan revealed an internal carotid artery tonsillar kink indenting into the pharyngeal wall. No further treatment was necessary.
The internal carotid kink is an important anatomical variation which ENT surgeons should be aware of, as there are significant complications if blind biopsy is undertaken prior to appropriate imaging.
Throat packs are employed in nasal surgery to prevent contamination of the upper aerodigestive tract. Their use is thought to reduce the risk of aspiration and post-operative nausea and vomiting. However, use of throat packs may also be accompanied by increased throat pain. In order to inform our clinical practice, the evidence base for throat pack insertion was reviewed.
A search was made of the Pubmed database from the 1950s to March 2008. Four randomised, controlled, clinical trials were reviewed.
All the trials had significant methodological weakness. In all but one, no power calculations were done. There were inconsistencies in the measurement of pain and heterogeneity of rhinological procedures. The one adequately powered trial could not demonstrate a difference in post-operative nausea and vomiting with the use of throat packs (β error = 20 per cent).
Further, adequately powered trials are required involving patients undergoing rhinological procedures with a higher risk of blood contamination (e.g. functional endoscopic sinus surgery), in order to provide definitive evidence on the morbidity of throat packs in rhinological procedures.