Upper airway dimensions in children using rigid video-bronchoscopy and a computer software: Description of a measurement technique

Priti G. Dalal, David Murray, Angela Feng, David Molter, John McAllister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: Pediatric airway management decisions are based primarily on results derived from indirect measures of laryngeal and tracheal dimensions. More recent methods could provide more direct information about absolute and relative changes in airway dimensions associated with growth and development. Study Objectives: The aims of this study were (i) to determine whether a 'video-bronchoscopic' measurement method could be used to reliably measure airway dimensions in children and (ii) to provide a preliminary assessment of dimensions of the glottis and cricoid in children of various ages. Methods: Following approval from the institutional review board, validation experiments were performed to determine whether measurements obtained from the video image from the bronchoscope provided accurate measurements of tubular objects of known dimensions. The reliability of the measurements was determined by using two independent trained observers to measure video-bronchoscopic images of the larynx at the level of the glottis and the cricoid in 11 children. The observers measured the video-bronchoscopic images and airway measurements were obtained in 16 additional children to determine the utility of the measurement method. Results: There was good agreement between the direct and video-bronchoscopic measurement techniques (Bland and Altman plot) for both the cross-sectional area (CSA) and the diameter of objects. The interobserver measures for cricoid and glottis were reproducible as indicated by the concordance correlation coefficient (CCC) for cricoid anteroposterior diameter (CCC = 0.98, r = 0.98, accuracy = 0.99) and transverse diameter (CCC = 0.93, r = 0.8, accuracy = 0.99) as well as for the glottic anteroposterior diameter (r = 0.8, accuracy = 0.8, CCC = 0.6) and the glottic transverse diameter(r = 0.8, accuracy = 0.74, CCC = 0.6). Overall, for the 27 children studied [mean age 73 months (±24.7, range 30-140], the mean value of the cricoid CSA [45.3 mm2 (±13.9)] was found to be greater than the glottic CSA [16.2 mm 2 (±10.1)]. Conclusions: The video-bronchoscopic imaging method provided an accurate, reliable measure of pediatric airway dimensions. This technique could be applied to assess absolute and relative airway size associated with growth and development. The relationship between glottic and cricoid dimensions during growth and development in children needs further investigation across various age groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-653
Number of pages9
JournalPaediatric Anaesthesia
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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