Chiari Type I malformation and upper airway obstruction in adolescents

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2004 May;68(5):607-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2003.12.009.


Chiari Type I malformation is characterized by cerebellar tonsil herniation through the foramen magnum. Manifestations may include new-onset upper airway obstruction. We describe two patients who had bilateral vocal cord paralysis and Chiari Type I malformation. These cases highlight the importance of suspecting a neurologic abnormality such as Chiari malformation in new-onset upper airway obstruction and/or bilateral vocal cord paralysis in adolescents in the absence of an obstructive lesion, though the development of cranial neuropathies or radiographic evidence may be delayed. Establishing a proper diagnosis is critical as Chiari I malformation can be treated with neurosurgical decompression, with possible improvement.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Airway Obstruction / etiology*
  • Airway Obstruction / surgery
  • Arnold-Chiari Malformation / complications*
  • Arnold-Chiari Malformation / diagnosis
  • Arnold-Chiari Malformation / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / etiology*
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis / surgery