Idiopathic Subglottic and Tracheal Stenosis: A Survey of the Patient Experience

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2015 Sep;124(9):734-9. doi: 10.1177/0003489415582255. Epub 2015 Apr 24.


Objectives: To report and compare patients' experiences with acquired subglottic stenosis (AS) versus idiopathic subglottic and tracheal stenosis (ISTS).

Methods: A survey was made available to patients with AS and ISTS. Results were analyzed for inter- and intragroup differences using a 2-tailed t test.

Results: The study included 160 survey participants (AS n = 28; ISTS n = 132), with a predominance of female participants (82% AS, 98% ISTS). Acid reflux was the most prevalent comorbidity across groups (42%-43%). A significant difference in time to diagnosis was found between groups, with 32% of AS patients diagnosed within 3 months of symptom onset, compared to 2% with ISTS. A diagnosis delay greater than 18 months occurred for 58% of ISTS patients. There was no difference in treatment approach, with the most common treatment being balloon dilation, followed by laser dilation. Tracheal resection was performed in 36% of patients in both groups. Patient satisfaction with surgical outcomes was significantly higher after tracheal resection (76%) compared to other treatment modalities (39%).

Conclusions: ISTS remains a diagnostic challenge as highlighted by the delay in diagnosis compared to AS. There appears to be no historical or symptomatic factors specific to ISTS. Additionally, patients report increased satisfaction and symptom resolution after tracheal resection.

Keywords: idiopathic subglottic stenosis; laryngotracheal stenosis; patient experience.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Data Collection
  • Delayed Diagnosis / psychology
  • Delayed Diagnosis / statistics & numerical data
  • Dilatation / methods
  • Dilatation / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laryngostenosis* / diagnosis
  • Laryngostenosis* / epidemiology
  • Laryngostenosis* / etiology
  • Laryngostenosis* / physiopathology
  • Laryngostenosis* / psychology
  • Laryngostenosis* / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sex Factors
  • Time-to-Treatment / statistics & numerical data
  • Tracheal Stenosis* / diagnosis
  • Tracheal Stenosis* / epidemiology
  • Tracheal Stenosis* / etiology
  • Tracheal Stenosis* / physiopathology
  • Tracheal Stenosis* / psychology
  • Tracheal Stenosis* / therapy
  • Tracheotomy / methods
  • Tracheotomy / psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome

Supplementary concepts

  • Idiopathic subglottic tracheal stenosis