- Bacterial tracheitis (BT) was found in 10 of 748 children (1.3%) admitted with croup during 1983-1990. 9.9% of all the 748 croup cases seen (74) were admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and 16 of the 74 required intubation. 10 of those intubated (62.5%) were found to have BT and had typical features of croup, including inspiratory stridor, hoarseness and cough. Airway obstruction resulted mainly from accumulated tracheal pus. After endotracheal intubation all required frequent suctioning of thick purulent secretions. In 2 children causative microorganisms were cultured from the blood, and in all 10 from the tracheal pus. All children were given antibiotic therapy but a 7 month-old girl died of secondary complications (respiratory syncytial virus infection, pneumonia and adult respiratory distress syndrome). The others recovered and were discharged from the PICU within 3-14 days. BT should be suspected when tracheal intubation is required in croup. In such cases close monitoring in a PICU and frequent tracheal suctioning after intubation is necessary; antibiotic therapy should be considered.