Pediatric Subglottic Stenosis

Pediatric Subglottic Stenosis

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Summary

Pediatric subglottic stenosis occurs when a child’s airway becomes narrow in the larynx (voice box). The larynx is located above the trachea (windpipe) and below the vocal cords (subglottis). It often affects a child’s voice.

Expanded overview

Pediatric subglottic stenosis occurs when a child’s airway becomes too narrow at the cricoid cartilage (ring of cartilage in the airway), located above the trachea and below the vocal cords. The cricoid cartilage is the only spot in the airway that is made completely of cartilage.

Types

There are two types of subglottic stenosis:

  • Congenital subglottic stenosis — a child is born with narrowing in their airway and can be associated with other genetic conditions like Down syndrome.
  • Acquired subglottic stenosis — occurs most often from scarring in the child’s larynx after surgery and/or long intubation (plastic tubing in the trachea to assist breathing).

Symptoms

Children with subglottic stenosis often have the following symptoms:

  • Breathing difficulty or distress
  • Cough
  • Inability to run or exercise
  • Recurrent croup
  • Shortness of breath or noisy breathing

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