Every child has a breathing tube starting at the nose and mouth, which extends into the lungs. He or she also has a feeding tube just behind the breathing tube that brings food and liquid to the stomach. If there is a connection at the very top of these two tubes, we call this a laryngeal cleft.
- Recurrent lung infections
- Trouble swallowing
- Poor feeding
- Failure to gain weight
Diagnosis and Treatment
Laryngeal clefts begin at the very top of the two tubes. Imagine a zipper unzipping; if the zipper unzips only to the level of the vocal cords, then it is labeled a type 1 cleft, and if the zipper unzips all the way down into the chest, it is a type 4 cleft.
Management of a type 1 cleft is usually conservative with anti-reflux medications and feeding modifications. There are also options for a temporary surgical procedure with injection of a slowly dissolving material that may help the child overcome their symptoms until their swallowing improves. Otherwise, a surgical procedure using the microscope or endoscope can be performed to close the cleft. This same procedure can be used for type 2 clefts. All type 3 and 4 clefts require surgical repair and this is generally done through an open approach.
Meet Our Team
We bring together physicians, speech-language pathologists, and other healthcare professionals to provide treatment to patients suffering from breathing troubles.
Did you know?
We are actively recruiting children with laryngeal clefts to identify whether younger children would benefit from an early cleft injection to allow them early transition to thin liquids and that might lower the frequency whereby laryngeal clefts need definitive repair later on. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.