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March 1997

Supraglottic Stenosis in Infants and ChildrenA Preliminary Report

Author Affiliations

From the Children's Hospital Medical Center, Department of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Cincinnati, Ohio (Dr Walner), and The Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Chicago, Ill (Dr Holinger).

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997;123(3):337-341. doi:10.1001/archotol.1997.01900030123015

Objectives:  To describe a condition identified in the pediatric population that narrows the supraglottic larynx. This condition has been termed supraglottic stenosis/collapse. To discuss common factors present in these children and to examine potential causes of this specific condition.

Design:  Retrospective review of patients with supraglottic stenosis/collapse from October 1985 to June 1993.

Setting:  Academic tertiary care children's hospital.

Patients:  Seventeen patients aged 7 months to 14 years underwent laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy for evaluation or follow-up of upper airway obstruction or respiratory failure and were found to have supraglottic stenosis/collapse.

Main Outcome Measures:  Each patient's records were reviewed for the average age at the time of diagnosis, history of prematurity, evidence of gastroesophageal reflux, history of long-term intubation, and any associated medical problems. In addition, patients were compared based on previous airway surgery (tracheostomy, laryngotracheal reconstruction, or anterior cricoid split).

Results:  Chronic upper airway obstruction was identified in 17 patients caused by supraglottic stenosis/collapse. All patients (100%) had undergone tracheostomy prior to the recognition of supraglottic stenosis/collapse. Fifty-nine percent of the patients had undergone laryngotracheal reconstruction, and 53% had a history of gastroesophageal reflux.

Conclusion:  Supraglottic stenosis/collapse is a distinct entity that may be related to prior laryngeal or tracheal surgery. This diagnosis should be considered when evaluating and treating patients with chronic upper airway obstruction following laryngeal and/or tracheal surgery.Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997;123:337-341