What are the Symptoms of Subglottic Stenosis?

What are the Symptoms of Subglottic Stenosis?

Subglottic stenosis is a condition characterized by narrowing of the airway just below the vocal cords in the throat (subglottis). The severity of symptoms can vary based on the degree of narrowing. Common symptoms of subglottic stenosis may include:

  • Stridor: High-pitched, noisy breathing or wheezing sound during inhalation or exhalation due to the narrowed airway.
  • Shortness of Breath: Difficulty breathing, especially during physical activity or exertion.
  • Chronic Cough: Persistent or recurrent cough, which may be dry or productive.
  • Hoarseness or Voice Changes: Changes in the voice quality, hoarseness, or a weak or breathy voice.
  • Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia): Difficulty swallowing food or liquids, sometimes causing choking or a sensation of something stuck in the throat.
  • Recurrent Respiratory Infections: Frequent respiratory tract infections, such as bronchitis or pneumonia, due to compromised airflow.
  • Cyanosis: Bluish discoloration of the skin, lips, or nails due to reduced oxygen levels in the blood.
  • Increased Respiratory Effort: Increased effort required to breathe, visible retractions (sinking in of the chest or neck) during breathing.
  • Fainting or Fatigue: Feeling faint, lightheaded, or extremely tired due to decreased airflow and oxygen intake.
  • Exercise Intolerance: Difficulty tolerating physical activity or exercise due to limited airflow and reduced oxygen supply.

It’s important to note that the severity and combination of symptoms can vary based on the extent of airway narrowing. In severe cases, subglottic stenosis can lead to life-threatening respiratory distress, particularly in infants and young children.

If you suspect subglottic stenosis or experience persistent or worsening respiratory symptoms, seek prompt medical attention. A healthcare professional will conduct a thorough evaluation, which may include imaging studies and other diagnostic tests, to confirm the diagnosis and determine the appropriate treatment, which may involve surgical intervention to widen the airway and improve breathing.

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