Laryngotracheal stenosis

From WikiProjectMed
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Laryngotracheal stenosis
This condition can also be referred to as subglottic or tracheal stenosis.
Diagnostic methodPatient history, CT scan of neck and chest, fibre-optic bronchoscopy

Laryngotracheal stenosis refers to abnormal narrowing of the central air passageways.[1] This can occur at the level of the larynx, trachea, carina or main bronchi.[2] In a small number of patients narrowing may be present in more than one anatomical location.

Signs and symptoms

The most common symptom of laryngotracheal stenosis is gradually-worsening breathlessness (dyspnea) particularly when undertaking physical activities (exertional dyspnea). The patient may also experience added respiratory sounds which in the more severe cases can be identified as stridor but in many cases can be readily mistaken for wheeze. This creates a diagnostic pitfall in which many patients with laryngotracheal stenosis are incorrectly diagnosed as having asthma and are treated for presumed lower airway disease.[3][4][5][6][7][8] This increases the likelihood of the patient eventually requiring major open surgery in benign disease[9] and can lead to tracheal cancer presenting too late for curative surgery to be performed.


Laryngotracheal stenosis is an umbrella term for a wide and heterogeneous group of very rare conditions. The population incidence of adult post-intubation laryngotracheal stenosis which is the commonest benign sub-type of this condition is approximately 1 in 200,000 adults per year.[10] The main causes of adult laryngotracheal stenosis are:

Main causes of laryngotracheal stenosis
Benign causes Malignant causes
Extrinsic compression
Intrinsic narrowing


Total obstruction of airway at glottic level, with a supraglottic band of scar tissue tethering the ventricular bands together

Patient history, CT scan of neck and chest, fiberoptic bronchoscopy, and spirometry are all several ways to assess for laryngotracheal stenosis and effectively develop preoperational approaches to treating the disease. In addition, a methodology called the Cotton-Myer system is commonly used to evaluate the degree of severity of the laryngotracheal stenosis based on the percentage of obstruction; other systems have also been proposed to fill potential shortcomings of the Cotton-Myer classification and help capture the full complexity of the illness.[23]


The optimal management of laryngotracheal stenosis is not well defined, depending mainly on the type of the stenosis.[24] General treatment options include

  1. Tracheal dilation using rigid bronchoscope
  2. Laser surgery and endoluminal stenting[25]
  3. Tracheal resection and laryngotracheal reconstruction[21][26]

Tracheal dilation is used to temporarily enlarge the airway. The effect of dilation typically lasts from a few days to 6 months. Several studies have shown that as a result of mechanical dilation (used alone) may occur a high mortality rate and a rate of recurrence of stenosis higher than 90%.[24] Thus, many authors treat the stenosis by endoscopic excision with laser (commonly either the carbon dioxide or the neodymium: yttrium aluminum garnet laser) and then by using bronchoscopic dilatation and prolonged stenting with a T-tube (generally in silicone).[27][28][29]

There are differing opinions on treating with laser surgery.

In very experienced surgery centers, tracheal resection and reconstruction (anastomosis complete end-to-end with or without laryngotracheal temporary stent to prevent airway collapse) is currently the best alternative to completely cure the stenosis and allows to obtain good results. Therefore, it can be considered the gold standard treatment and is suitable for almost all patients.[30]

The narrowed part of the trachea will be cut off and the cut ends of the trachea sewn together with sutures. For stenosis of length greater than 5 cm a stent may be required to join the sections.

Late June or early July 2010, a new potential treatment was trialed at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Ciaran Finn-Lynch (aged 11) received a transplanted trachea which had been injected with stem cells harvested from his own bone marrow. The use of Ciaran's stem cells was hoped to prevent his immune system from rejecting the transplant,[31] but there remain doubts about the operation's success, and several later attempts at similar surgery have been unsuccessful.


Laryngotracheal stenosis (Laryngo-: Glottic Stenosis; Subglottic Stenosis; Tracheal: narrowings at different levels of the windpipe) is a more accurate description for this condition when compared, for example to subglottic stenosis which technically only refers to narrowing just below vocal folds or tracheal stenosis. In babies and young children however, the subglottis is the narrowest part of the airway and most stenoses do in fact occur at this level. Subglottic stenosis is often therefore used to describe central airway narrowing in children, and laryngotracheal stenosis is more often used in adults.

See also


  1. Gelbard, A (2014). "Causes and Consequences of Laryngotracheal Stenosis". The Laryngoscope. 125 (5): 1137–1143. doi:10.1002/lary.24956. PMC 4562418. PMID 25290987.
  2. Armstrong WB, Netterville JL (August 1995). "Anatomy of the larynx, trachea, and bronchi". Otolaryngol. Clin. North Am. 28 (4): 685–99. PMID 7478631.
  3. Catenacci MH (July 2006). "A case of laryngotracheal stenosis masquerading as asthma". South. Med. J. 99 (7): 762–4. doi:10.1097/01.smj.0000217498.70967.77. PMID 16866062.
  4. Ricketti PA, Ricketti AJ, Cleri DJ, Seelagy M, Unkle DW, Vernaleo JR (2010). "A 41-year-old male with cough, wheeze, and dyspnea poorly responsive to asthma therapy". Allerg Asthma Proc. 31 (4): 355–8. doi:10.2500/aap.2010.31.3344. PMID 20819328.
  5. Scott PM, Glover GW (1995). "All that wheezes is not asthma". Br J Clin Pract. 49 (1): 43–4. PMID 7742187.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Kokturk N, Demircan S, Kurul C, Turktas H (October 2004). "Tracheal adenoid cystic carcinoma masquerading asthma: a case report". BMC Pulm Med. 4: 10. doi:10.1186/1471-2466-4-10. PMC 526771. PMID 15494074.
  7. Parrish RW, Banks J, Fennerty AG (December 1983). "Tracheal obstruction presenting as asthma". Postgrad Med J. 59 (698): 775–6. doi:10.1136/pgmj.59.698.775. PMC 2417814. PMID 6318209.
  8. Galvin IF, Shepherd DR, Gibbons JR (1990). "Tracheal stenosis caused by congenital vascular ring anomaly misinterpreted as asthma for 45 years". Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 38 (1): 42–4. doi:10.1055/s-2007-1013990. PMID 2309228.
  9. Nouraei SA, Singh A, Patel A, Ferguson C, Howard DJ, Sandhu GS (August 2006). "Early endoscopic treatment of acute inflammatory airway lesions improves the outcome of postintubation airway stenosis". Laryngoscope. 116 (8): 1417–21. doi:10.1097/01.mlg.0000225377.33945.14. PMID 16885746.
  10. Nouraei SA, Ma E, Patel A, Howard DJ, Sandhu GS (October 2007). "Estimating the population incidence of adult post-intubation laryngotracheal stenosis". Clin Otolaryngol. 32 (5): 411–2. doi:10.1111/j.1749-4486.2007.01484.x. PMID 17883582.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Lu MS, Liu YH, Ko PJ, Wu YC, Hsieh MJ, Liu HP, Lin PJ (April 2003). "Preliminary experience with bronchotherapeutic procedures in central airway obstruction". Chang Gung Med J. 26 (4): 240–9. PMID 12846523.
  12. Tsutsui H, Kubota M, Yamada M, Suzuki A, Usuda J, Shibuya H, Miyajima K, Sugino K, Ito K, Furukawa K, Kato H (September 2008). "Airway stenting for the treatment of laryngotracheal stenosis secondary to thyroid cancer". Respirology. 13 (5): 632–8. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1843.2008.01309.x. PMID 18513246.
  13. Peña J, Cicero R, Marín J, Ramírez M, Cruz S, Navarro F (October 2001). "Laryngotracheal reconstruction in subglottic stenosis: an ancient problem still present". Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 125 (4): 397–400. doi:10.1067/mhn.2001.117372. PMID 11593179.
  14. Bent J (July 2006). "Pediatric laryngotracheal obstruction: current perspectives on stridor". Laryngoscope. 116 (7): 1059–70. doi:10.1097/01.mlg.0000222204.88653.c6. PMID 16826038.
  15. Perkins JA, Inglis AF, Richardson MA (March 1998). "Iatrogenic airway stenosis with recurrent respiratory papillomatosis". Arch. Otolaryngol. Head Neck Surg. 124 (3): 281–7. doi:10.1001/archotol.124.3.281. PMID 9525512.
  16. Wood DE, Mathisen DJ (September 1991). "Late complications of tracheotomy". Clin. Chest Med. 12 (3): 597–609. PMID 1934960.
  17. Lorenz RR (December 2003). "Adult laryngotracheal stenosis: etiology and surgical management". Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 11 (6): 467–72. doi:10.1097/00020840-200312000-00011. PMID 14631181.
  18. Filocamo, G; Torreggiani, S; Agostoni, C; Esposito, S (April 2017). "Lung involvement in childhood onset granulomatosis with polyangiitis". Pediatric Rheumatology Online Journal. 15 (1): 28. doi:10.1186/s12969-017-0150-8. PMC 5391594. PMID 28410589.
  19. Chang SJ, Lu CC, Chung YM, Lee SS, Chou CT, Huang DF (June 2005). "Laryngotracheal involvement as the initial manifestation of relapsing polychondritis". J Chin Med Assoc. 68 (6): 279–82. doi:10.1016/S1726-4901(09)70151-0. PMID 15984823.
  20. Kim CM, Kim BS, Cho KJ, Hong SJ (April 2003). "Laryngotracheal involvement of relapsing polychondritis in a Korean girl". Pediatr. Pulmonol. 35 (4): 314–7. doi:10.1002/ppul.10247. PMID 12629631.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Mostafa BE, El Fiky L, El Sharnoubi M (July 2006). "Non-intubation traumatic laryngotracheal stenosis: management policies and results". Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 263 (7): 632–6. doi:10.1007/s00405-006-0036-8. PMID 16633824.
  22. Wassermann K, Mathen F, Edmund Eckel H (October 2000). "Malignant laryngotracheal obstruction: a way to treat serial stenoses of the upper airways". Ann. Thorac. Surg. 70 (4): 1197–201. doi:10.1016/s0003-4975(00)01614-3. PMID 11081870.
  23. Rosow, David E.; Barbarite, Eric (December 2016). "Review of Adult Laryngotracheal Stenosis: Pathogenesis, Management, and Outcomes". Ovid. Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery. pp. 489–493. Archived from the original on 2022-09-26. Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Brichet A, Verkindre C, Dupont J, Carlier ML, Darras J, Wurtz A, Ramon P, Marquette CH (April 1999). "Multidisciplinary approach to management of postintubation tracheal stenoses". Eur. Respir. J. 13 (4): 888–93. doi:10.1034/j.1399-3003.1999.13d32.x. PMID 10362058.
  25. Ciccone AM, De Giacomo T, Venuta F, Ibrahim M, Diso D, Coloni GF, Rendina EA (October 2004). "Operative and non-operative treatment of benign subglottic laryngotracheal stenosis". Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 26 (4): 818–22. doi:10.1016/j.ejcts.2004.06.020. PMID 15450579.
  26. Duncavage JA, Koriwchak MJ (August 1995). "Open surgical techniques for laryngotracheal stenosis". Otolaryngol. Clin. North Am. 28 (4): 785–95. PMID 7478638.
  27. Shapshay SM, Beamis JF, Hybels RL, Bohigian RK (1987). "Endoscopic treatment of subglottic and tracheal stenosis by radial laser incision and dilation". Ann. Otol. Rhinol. Laryngol. 96 (6): 661–4. doi:10.1177/000348948709600609. PMID 3688753.
  28. Shapshay SM, Beamis JF, Dumon JF (November 1989). "Total cervical tracheal stenosis: treatment by laser, dilation, and stenting". Ann. Otol. Rhinol. Laryngol. 98 (11): 890–5. doi:10.1177/000348948909801110. PMID 2817681.
  29. Mehta AC, Lee FY, Cordasco EM, Kirby T, Eliachar I, De Boer G (September 1993). "Concentric tracheal and subglottic stenosis. Management using the Nd-YAG laser for mucosal sparing followed by gentle dilatation". Chest. 104 (3): 673–7. doi:10.1378/chest.104.3.673. PMID 8365273. Archived from the original on 2014-06-18.
  30. Gómez-Caro A, Morcillo A, Wins R, Molins L, Galan G, Tarrazona V (January 2011). "Surgical management of benign tracheal stenosis". Multimedia Manual of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery. 2011 (1111): mmcts.2010.004945. doi:10.1510/mmcts.2010.004945. PMID 24413853.
  31. "New throat surgery 'a success'". BBC News. 2010-08-06. Archived from the original on 2020-11-09. Retrieved 2022-07-17.

External links