Algorithm for Airway Management in Patients with Pierre Robin Sequence

Katherine E. Hicks, Kathleen R. Billings, Chad A. Purnell, John M. Carter, Bharat Bhushan, Arun K. Gosain, Dana M. Thompson, Jeffrey C. Rastatter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Purpose: Airway management in neonates with Pierre Robin sequence (PRS) can be challenging. The goal was to describe the algorithm developed by the authors over the past 8 years. Methods: A retrospective case series analyzing airway management in neonates with PRS admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit at a tertiary care pediatric hospital was performed. The utility of the proposed algorithm for airway management incorporating more consistent use of polysomnography (PSG), and airway assessment was assessed. Results: A total of 31 neonates with PRS (12 men, 19 women) with a mean gestational age of 38.2 weeks were analyzed. Thirteen (41.9%) patients had a named syndrome, chromosomal abnormality, or global delay. Twenty (64.5%) patients had pre-intervention PSG, and severe obstructive sleep apnea with an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI)≥10events/hour was identified in 19 (95.0%). Mandibular distraction osteogenesis was performed in 18 (58.1%) patients, and improved the AHI on post-operative PSGs. Direct assessment of the upper and lower airways was performed in 19 patients, and 13 (68.4%) were found to have secondary airway pathology. Presence of a concomitant syndrome was significantly associated with need for tracheostomy. Conclusion: The algorithm differs from previous ones in that it relies on rigorous pre- and post-intervention PSG (including with a nasopharyngeal airway), as well as that it allows flexibility between treatment options given the whole-patient clinical scenario and endoscopic findings. Results from these studies may be integrated to stratify patients into those who are most likely to benefit from conservative interventions or surgical procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1187-1192
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Airway management
  • Pierre Robin sequence
  • algorithm
  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • polysomnography
  • synchronous airway lesions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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