Surgical treatment of exercise-induced laryngeal dysfunction

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2007 Apr;264(4):401-7. doi: 10.1007/s00405-006-0216-6. Epub 2007 Jan 4.


A method for combined ergo-spirometry and continuous laryngeal inspection during exercise, entitled continuous laryngoscopy exercise test (CLE-test) has been developed in order to study airway obstruction at the laryngeal level during exercise. The aim of the study was to apply the CLE-test on patients experiencing respiratory distress during exercise in order to reveal the usefulness of the CLE-test both as a diagnostic tool in the selection of patients for surgery and in evaluation of treatment effects postoperatively. Until now, 81 patients with a history of exercise-induced stridor have undergone the CLE-test. Ten of these patients were selected for surgical treatment based on the severity of symptoms and their motivation for treatment. All ten patients underwent endoscopic supraglottoplasty (ES), with laser incision in both aryepiglottic folds anterior to the cuneiform cartilages and removal of the mucosa around the top of the tubercles. Each patient was examined by the CLE-test before and 3 months after surgery. Eight patients felt subjectively that their breathing capacity during exercise was improved. When pre- and postoperative ergo-spirometry evaluations were compared, increased peak oxygen consumption was observed in four out of ten patients and better maximal minute ventilation in seven out of ten. Postoperative evaluation of the laryngeal images showed less prominent aryepiglottic folds. The typical adduction of the supraglottic structures concomitant with inspiratory stridor found preoperatively was not present in any of the patients during exercise postoperatively. The ES procedure is an efficient surgical treatment for exercise-induced laryngeal supraglottic obstruction and the CLE-test eases the selection of patients for surgery and facilitates the evaluation of treatment effects.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma, Exercise-Induced / complications*
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laryngoscopy
  • Laryngostenosis* / etiology
  • Laryngostenosis* / physiopathology
  • Laryngostenosis* / surgery
  • Male
  • Severity of Illness Index