Epidemiology and Management of Adult Laryngeal Trauma: An Analysis of the National Trauma Data Bank

Katherine Xu, Emma De Ravin, Christian Fritz, Harman S. Parhar, Alvaro Moreira, Karthik Rajasekaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Laryngeal injuries are rare but life-threatening airway emergencies. Increased understanding of the epidemiology of these injuries can inform treatment and improve outcomes. We aimed to characterize the demographics and management of adult laryngeal trauma. Methods: The National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB) was queried from 2007 to 2015 for patients ≥18 years old with laryngeal trauma. Patient demographics, injury characteristics, and treatment course were collected. Outcomes were assessed via multivariate logistic regression. Results: From 7.3 million patients, 6,890 (0.1%) patients with laryngeal trauma were identified. Eighty-five percent of patients were male, and the median age was 40. Of these patients, 343 (5.0%) were dead on arrival and of the remaining patients, 510 (7.8%) of patients were deceased at discharge. Common concomitant injuries included facial fractures (27%), intracranial injuries (21%), and rib and sternum fractures (19%). The most common cause of injury was motor vehicle accident (26%), followed by assault with firearms/explosives (12%) and assault with cutting instruments (8%). Forty-three percent of patients received mechanical ventilation and 15% received surgical repair. After correcting for gender, age, and injury severity, firearm injuries (odds ratio [OR] 3.46, 95% CI: [2.88-4.15]) and cutting/piercing injuries (OR 2.23, 95% CI: [1.89-2.64]) were positively associated with the need for mechanical ventilation. Motor vehicle trauma (OR 0.63, 95% CI: [0.46-0.84]) was negatively associated with surgical repair while striking injuries (OR 1.61, 95% CI: [1.25-2.06]) were positively associated. Lastly, shorter time to tracheostomy was significantly associated with shorter ICU stays (p < 0.0001). Conclusion: This study is the largest epidemiologic study of laryngeal trauma to date and identifies the risk of surgical intervention with firearm and cutting injuries as well as the importance of earlier time to tracheostomy for ICU management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-347
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023


  • Airway trauma
  • Epidemiology
  • Laryngeal trauma
  • Larynx fracture
  • National Trauma Data Bank
  • Risk factors
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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