Secondary airway lesions in infants with laryngomalacia

J. Matthew Dickson, Gresham T. Richter, Jareen Meinzen-Derr, Michael J. Rutter, Dana M. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Objectives: We sought to determine the incidence of secondary airway lesions in infants with laryngomalacia and to compare the incidences of these concomitant airway lesions in infants with severe, moderate, and mild laryngomalacia; to determine whether infants with mild or moderate laryngomalacia have a higher incidence of surgical intervention when a secondary airway lesion is present; and to determine whether the incidence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is affected by the presence of a secondary airway lesion. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of a database consisting of 201 infants with a diagnosis of laryngomalacia treated at a pediatric tertiary referral center between June 1998 and June 2003. Data pertaining to demographic information, severity of laryngomalacia, presence of secondary airway lesions, and diagnosis of GERD were collected and analyzed. Results: Of the 201 infants, 104 (51.7%) were found to have a secondary airway lesion. Subglottic stenosis was found in 38.8%, and tracheomalacia in 37.8%. Of the infants with severe laryngomalacia, 30 (79%) had a diagnosis of a secondary lesion, compared with 51 (61.5%) of those with moderate and 23 (28.8%) of those with mild disease. Among infants with mild or moderate disease, those with secondary airway lesions were more likely to require surgical intervention than were infants without secondary airway lesions (27% versus 5.6%; p = 0.0002). There was no difference in the rates of secondary airway lesions in infants managed with supraglottoplasty versus tracheotomy. The incidence of GERD in this patient population was 65.6%. Infants with a secondary airway lesion were more likely to have GERD than were those without a secondary airway lesion (84.6% versus 45.4%; p < 0.0001). Conclusions: The incidence of secondary airway lesions in our population of infants with laryngomalacia was higher than those previously reported. The severity of disease correlated with the diagnosis of a secondary airway lesion. Secondary airway lesions lead to an increased incidence of surgical intervention and GERD in infants with laryngomalacia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Laryngomalacia
  • Stridor
  • Subglottic stenosis
  • Tracheomalacia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

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