Allergic rhinitis is the most common allergic disease encountered in a primary care setting. Diagnosis is often made clinically based on response to empiric therapy. However, with long-term treatment failure and/or atypical disease presentation, a differential diagnosis should be considered. The following is a report of an unusual and rare presentation of a subglottic tracheal angiomyomatous hamartoma in an adolescent, treated for many years as allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma.
A 12-year-old Caucasian was referred to the allergy clinic with a lifetime history of bronchospasms and rhinoconjunctivitis symptoms, treated for many years for asthma and environmental allergies. Cough, posterior nasal drainage, self-described “choking on phlegm,” and a sensation of “a flap in the throat,”, worsened 5 months prior to the initial evaluation. Puncture skin testing for common environmental allergens was negative. Spirometry, performed due to history of chronic cough, showed blunting of the forced expiratory phase. A chest X-ray, immediately ordered to rule out possible extrapulmonary obstruction, showed bilateral bibasilar infiltrates. A noncontrast computerized tomographic scan of the chest, ordered to further elucidate X-ray findings, revealed a subglottic tracheal mass. Following a subsequent transfer and admission to a tertiary hospital center, microlaryngoscopy, bronchoscopy, and microsuspension laryngoscopy were performed to remove the tracheal mass. Pathology confirmed squamous mucosa with polypoid angiomyomatous changes and chronic inflammatory features consistent with angiomyomatous hamartoma. Surgical intervention was successful, and follow-up 1 year postoperatively revealed a healthy, asymptomatic adolescent child with normal lung function.
Although posterior nasal drainage and cough are typical presenting symptoms in the general patient population, they may be clinically impactful as they could disguise more serious medical conditions. A detailed history and careful physical examination may provide a high index of suspicion of disease, and can help work the differential diagnosis. This case presentation is the first documentation of subglottic hamartoma reported in the pediatric literature with clinical manifestation of environmental allergy and asthma symptoms.