Subglottic Stenosis in Adults Workup

Updated: Mar 03, 2016
  • Author: James D Garnett, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Laboratory Studies

See the list below:

  • In the absence of a history of prior trauma or when suggested by other findings, evaluate for inflammatory or infectious causes, including the following:
    • Wegener granulomatosis
    • Relapsing polychondritis
    • Syphilis
    • Tuberculosis
    • Sarcoidosis
    • Leprosy
    • Diphtheria
    • Scleroma

Imaging Studies

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  • Radiography
    • Standard chest radiographs can often provide a great deal of information regarding the tracheal air column.
    • Anteroposterior filtered tracheal views and lateral soft tissue views of the neck provide specific information regarding the glottic/subglottic air column.
  • MRI is useful in evaluating length and width of the stenotic region by means of coronal and sagittal views.
  • CT scan
    • CT scanning is not as helpful as MRI because its views are generally only in the axial plane.
    • Thin cuts (1 mm) with sagittal and/or coronal reconstructions may be helpful, however. This is the preferred initial imaging study of the author.
    • New software allows virtual bronchoscopy, which may be helpful in assessing the airway and surgical planning prior to actually performing a procedure.

Other Tests

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  • Flow-volume loops do not offer more specific information regarding stenosis than what is gained from imaging. However, flow-volume loops may be helpful in monitoring for restenosis after intervention.

Diagnostic Procedures

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  • Videostrobolaryngoscopy is extremely helpful in evaluating the glottic and supraglottic larynx for possible concomitant injury.
  • Visualization of the larynx by flexible fiberoptic or rigid telescopic (90- or 70-degree scopes) in the clinic is crucial to the evaluation of airway lesions.