Idiopathic subglottic stenosis (ISGS) is a narrowing of the windpipe in the area just below the vocal cords. It can make it hard to breathe and speak. It is rare.
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The exact cause is not known.
This problem almost always affects women. It more common in women who are 30 to 50 years of age.
Problems may be:
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Lung function tests will also be done to test how well air moves in and out of the lungs. This may be enough to suspect the diagnosis.
Images will be taken to look for signs of airway narrowing. This can be done with:
A tissue sample may be taken to look for signs of ISGS. This can be done with a bronchoscopy.
There is no one treatment that works for everyone. It may need to be treated using more than one method. Options are:
It may be treated with:
Severe problems may be treated with:
Some treatments may need to be repeated.
There are no current guidelines to prevent ISGS. The cause is not known.
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
American College of Chest Physicians
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
Canadian Thoracic Society
About subglottic stenosis. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia website. Available at: http://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/subglottic-stenosis/about#.V7b6iE2FPIV. Accessed July 27, 2020.
Idiopathic subglottis stenosis. NORD—National Organization for Rare Diseases website. Available at: http://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/idiopathic-subglottic-stenosis. Updated 2018. Accessed July 27, 2020.
Subglottic stenosis. Rush University Medical Center website. Available at: https://www.rush.edu/services/conditions/subglottic-stenosis. Accessed July 27, 2020.
Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD Last Updated: 02/08/2020