Pediatric deaths due to otolaryngologic causes: A population-based study in Massachusetts, 1990-2002

Ritvik P. Mehta, Katrina Chesnulovitch, Dwight T. Jones, David W. Roberson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To identify the most common otolaryngologic causes of mortality in the 0 to 19 age group in the state of Massachusetts and to estimate the pediatric otolaryngologic mortality rate based on population data. STUDY DESIGN: Population-based retrospective cohort study. METHODS: The Massachusetts State Registry of Vital Records and Statistics electronic database was searched for all otolaryngology related causes of death from 1990 to 2002 for children aged 0 to 19. The individual death certificates were then reviewed, and a database of otolaryngology related pediatric deaths was created. RESULTS: A total of 59 otolaryngology related deaths were identified in the pediatric population from 1990 to 2002. Eighty-one percent of deaths occurred because of airway compromise caused by infection, anatomic obstruction, or congenital anomaly. The remaining 19% of deaths occurred because of aspiration, nonairway infections, and malignant neoplasms. Ninety-five percent of deaths in the children under age 10 were caused by airway compromise. Six of seven deaths (86%) in the age 15 to 19 group occurred because of malignant neoplasms. The overall mortality rate caused by otolaryngologic causes was estimated to be 0.28 per 100,000 population. CONCLUSIONS: The overall mortality rate for otolaryngology related deaths is low in the pediatric population. The vast majority of deaths are caused by airway compromise, primarily because of laryngotracheobronchitis or other upper airway obstruction. In older children (ages 15-19), malignant head and neck neoplasms are the leading cause of otolaryngology related deaths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1923-1929
Number of pages7
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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