Airway Disorders

 

Airway Stenosis

The term stenosis refers to the abnormal narrowing of a tube-shaped organ. In the human airway, there are three main areas where stenosis can occur, all of which can be treated by Temple's otolaryngologists.

  • Laryngeal stenosis - Laryngeal stenosis is the narrowing of the larynx, or voice box. Symptoms of laryngeal stenosis include high-pitched wheezing, rapid breathing and shortness of breath. The main cause of laryngeal narrowing is having a breathing tube in place. Other causes include injury, surgery, or radiation to the larynx.
  • Subglottic stenosis - Subglottic stenosis is the narrowing of the subglottic section of the airway, located immediately below the vocal folds. In adults, the condition is primarily due to prolonged use of a breathing tube but could be without a specific cause, particularly in young women. Symptoms of subglottic stenosis include high-pitched wheezing, hoarseness and shortness of breath. This condition can be a medical emergency or develop gradually, worsening over time.
  • Tracheal stenosis - Tracheal stenosis is the narrowing of the trachea, or windpipe. The windpipe is the largest airway in the human body and is responsible for guiding air into the lungs. Symptoms of tracheal stenosis include coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, or a bluish color in the skin or mouth. This condition can be caused by prolonged use of a breathing tube, external injury, cancer or certain autoimmune conditions.

If you suspect you have any form of airway stenosis, Temple's experienced otolaryngologists can diagnose and treat your condition. Learn more about the treatment of airway stenosis at Temple.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple Voice, Airway, and Swallowing Center physician, click here or call 1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).


Chronic Cough

A chronic cough is a cough that persists for four or more weeks. Chronic cough can lead to exhaustion, rib fractures, vomiting and lightheadedness.

Chronic cough maybe be accompanied by a host of additional symptoms, including:

  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Postnasal drip
  • Heartburn
  • Coughing up blood (rare)

Chronic cough is a symptom and not a diagnosis. It is typically the result of an underlying condition or health factor. The most common of these include:

  • Tobacco use or constant exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Asthma
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Acid reflux

Other causes of chronic cough include respiratory infections, certain blood pressure medications and chronic bronchitis.

Temple's otolaryngologists are highly experienced in diagnosing and treating chronic cough. If you are experiencing a lingering cough, a cough that interrupts sleep and/or work, make an appointment today.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple Voice, Airway, and Swallowing Center physician, click here or call 1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).


Tracheotomy Care

A tracheotomy is one of the earliest medical procedures ever described. The procedure is usually performed when the upper airway becomes blocked or is at risk for becoming blocked, preventing air from reaching the lungs. During a tracheotomy, a surgeon will make an incision on the neck that extends into the trachea. The resulting hole usually has a tracheotomy tube within it and allows air to flow freely in and out of the airway.

Tracheotomies can be performed as an emergency procedure, or they can be planned, as part of cancer surgery or airway reconstruction, or to allow for the use of ventilators in critically ill patients. In most cases, a surgeon will place a tracheotomy tube into the stoma to ensure that the hole does not close. These tubes are made from various materials, including medical-grade plastics and metals.

These tubes need regular care and changing. In certain patients, these tubes can be permanently removed once the underlying condition is corrected.

Temple's otolaryngologists are highly experienced in all aspects of tracheotomy care. They ensure that any patient who receives a tracheotomy also receives the best possible education in caring for their new airway. In many cases, the tracheotomy tube may be permanently removed.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple Voice, Airway, and Swallowing Center physician, click here or call 1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).