Jefferson University Hospitals

Airway Stenosis (Laryngotracheal Stenosis)

Stridor (high-pitched noise), wheezing, hoarseness, shortness of breath and respiratory distress can all be signs of airway stenosis (laryngotracheal stenosis), a congenital or acquired abnormal narrowing that obstructs the passage of air to the lungs. The most common cause of airway stenosis is trauma from prolonged intubation, surgery or neck trauma. 

Patients with these conditions often have a long history of breathing complaints that can be confused with asthma or other nonairway causes of shortness of breath.

Diagnosing and Treating Airway Stenosis

Otolaryngologists of the Jefferson Voice and Swallowing Center have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating this condition. Typically, diagnosis is accomplished by imaging the airway and by endoscopy, which allows direct visualization of the problem area. Many new and innovative techniques are available, including noninvasive.