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Pediatric Subglottic Stenosis

What is subglottic stenosis?

The subglottis is that portion of the airway located just below the vocal cords.  It serves as the entry point of air into the trachea. Narrowing, or stenosis, of the subglottis can be a “congenital” anomaly that is present at or shortly after birth or an “acquired” condition that most commonly arises in infants who required prolonged airway intubation for ventilation.  

Symptoms of subglottic stenosis include recurrent croup, shortness of breath, exercise intolerance and cough. 

How is subglottic stenosis diagnosed in children?

The diagnosis of subglottic stenosis usually requires “direct laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy” where the airway is examined in the operating room under general anesthesia.

How is subglottic stenosis treated in children?

Depending on the severity of symptoms and the type of narrowing, treatment includes observation, balloon dilation, laser excision and sometimes open surgical airway reconstruction.

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