Multilevel airway stenosis in patients with granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's)

Elizabeth Guardiani, Hassan Sheikh Moghaddas, Jonathan Lesser, Franco Resta-Flarer, Andrew Blitzer, Faiz Bhora, Robert Lebovics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objectives To describe the presentation and clinical course of subglottic stenosis (SGS), in particular the development of concurrent airway lesions, in patients with Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (Wegener's) (GPA). Materials and methods Retrospective review of clinical data from all patients presenting to our institution from 2000 to 2012 with SGS and GPA. Results Thirty-five patients were identified. The average age at diagnosis was 33 years old. Eleven patients (31%) presented with SGS as part their initial manifestation of GPA. The remaining patients developed SGS later, at a median of 2.5 years from diagnosis (range 6 months to 14 years). Twelve patients (34%) were noted to have multilevel airway involvement. Seven patients (20%) had documentation of cricoarytenoid joint fixation and vocal cord immobility. This was typically progressive in nature and occurred at an average of two years following the diagnosis of SGS. Six patients (17%) had mid/distal tracheal stenosis and four (11%) had bronchial stenosis. The majority of patients (86%) had evidence of concurrent sinonasal involvement, ten patients (29%) had evidence of otologic involvement and eight (23%) had ocular involvement. Conclusions Cricoarytenoid joint fixation and distal stenosis occur not infrequently in patients with GPA and SGS, resulting in progressive multilevel airway stenosis in about one third of patients. It is critical to identify multilevel stenosis when managing the airways of these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-363
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2015
Externally publishedYes


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