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Logo of bmjThis ArticleThe BMJ
BMJ. 2007 November 3; 335(7626): 899–900.
PMCID: PMC2048860
Value of Video Clips

Useful in acute upper airway obstruction in children

Graham A M Wilson, consultant paediatric anaesthetist,1 Thomas Engelhardt, consultant paediatric anaesthetist,1 and Bruno Marciniak, staff anaesthetist2

Ashworth argues that mobile phone video footage is useful when treating sick children.1 We know of two recent cases in which such video footage provided by parents was valuable in the diagnosis and treatment of upper airway obstruction.

A previously healthy 2.5 year old boy was reported by his parents to have severe respiratory distress at night, which completely resolved during the day. He was seen several times by a family doctor and ear, nose, and throat specialist. No diagnosis was made as he seemed well. Finally, his parents presented a video recording showing him in severe respiratory distress while asleep (figure(figure).). Direct laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy were then carried out under general anaesthesia. He needed urgent adenotonsillectomy and made an uneventful recovery with complete resolution of his symptoms.

figure wilson0311.f1

The second patient was a 13 year old girl with cystic fibrosis who was due to have a scheduled bronchoscopy. She seemed well when she presented for an anaesthesia assessment, with no signs of respiratory distress, but her parents supplied a video recording from a mobile phone that showed her in respiratory distress in the morning or when anxious. She successfully underwent a diagnostic bronchoscopy and postoperative respiratory symptoms were consistent with the mobile phone recordings.

These cases highlight the usefulness of modern technology in the diagnosis of problems of uncertain severity in children and may represent a useful alternative to inpatient admissions.


Competing interests: None declared.


1. Ashworth AJ. Mobile phone videos could help treat sick children. BMJ 2007;335:627 (29 September.) doi: 10.1136/bmj.39346.512523.3A

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