Utility of polysomnography in determination of laryngomalacia severity

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2017 Feb:93:145-149. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2016.12.039. Epub 2016 Dec 30.


Objective: To examine the efficacy of polysomnography in determining the severity of laryngomalacia in pediatric patients.

Methods: Prospective cohort study. Pediatric patients referred to our pediatric otolaryngology department with a polysomnogram already performed for a presumptive diagnosis of laryngomalacia were enrolled in the study. Patients with concurrent airway lesions or neuromuscular disorders were excluded. Patients underwent history, physical exam, and flexible fiberoptic laryngoscopy. These results were used to calculate a total laryngomalacia severity score.

Results: 25 pediatric patients (n = 25) with an average age of 3.9 months at time of initial evaluation met criteria for enrollment in our study. 100% of patients had obstructive sleep apnea by definition. 80% of these patients underwent supraglottoplasty. The average AHI of those who underwent surgery (57.26) was not significantly different in those who underwent surgery vs. those that did not (55.43) (p = 0.41). In comparison, the average laryngomalacia severity score based from history, physical exam and flexible laryngoscopy was significantly greater in the patients that required supraglottoplasty (11.16) vs. those who did not (5.33) (p = 0.03). In addition a higher laryngomalacia severity score was not correlated with a higher AHI (p = 0.81, r = 0.08, CI: -0.5197 to 0.6235).

Conclusion: In our cohort, polysomnography was not useful in determining the severity of laryngomalacia, did not correlate with the clinical evaluation, and alone was not predictive of the patients that would require surgical intervention. History, physical exam, and endoscopic findings remain reliable predictors of disease severity and need for operative intervention.

Keywords: Laryngomalacia; Obstructive sleep apnea; Polysomnogram.

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Laryngomalacia / complications*
  • Laryngoscopy
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking
  • Physical Examination
  • Polysomnography*
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications