Flexible Laser Bronchoscopy for Subglottic Stenosis in the Awake Patient

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ObjectiveTo describe our technique and experience of treating adult subglottic stenosis using the Nd:YAG laser through a flexible bronchoscope via a fiberoptic delivery system.DesignRetrospective chart review.PatientsThis study included 16 patients with subglottic stenosis who presented to the senior surgeon (M.R.R.) for laser bronchoscopy from January 2000 to December 2006.Main Outcome MeasuresProgression toward decannulation and preoperative and postoperative symptoms were assessed.ResultsFour of 7 patients who required tracheostomy tubes at the start of laser bronchoscopy underwent decannulation. None of the remaining 9 patients required tracheostomy tubes during treatment. All patients had improvement in their symptoms. Complications of the procedure were minimal.ConclusionsBronchoscopy with the Nd:YAG laser is a well-tolerated and effective treatment for subglottic stenosis. Laryngotracheal trauma caused by an endotracheal tube and/or rigid bronchoscope is avoided. This procedure may be useful to achieve and maintain a patent airway.

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