Risk factors for developing subglottic and tracheal stenosis from the medical intensive care unit

Robin B. Pappal, Clayton Prakash Burruss, Michael A. Witt, Christopher Harryman, Syed Z. Ali, Matthew L. Bush, Mark A. Fritz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: Endotracheal intubation is a common procedure in the medical intensive care unit (MICU), but it carries risk of complications including, but not limited to, subglottic stenosis (SGS) and tracheal stenosis (TS). Current literature suggests identifiable risk factors for the development of airway complications. This study is a comprehensive evaluation of potential risk factors in patients who developed SGS and TS following endotracheal intubation in our MICU. Methods: Patients intubated in our MICU were identified from 2013 to 2019. Diagnoses of SGS or TS within 1 year of MICU admission were identified. Data extracted included age, sex, body measurements, comorbidities, bronchoscopies, endotracheal tube size, tracheostomy, social history, and medications. Patients with prior diagnosis of airway complication, tracheostomy, or head and neck cancer were excluded. Univariate and multivariate logistic regressions were performed. Results: A total of 136 patients with TS or SGS were identified out of a sample of 6603 patients intubated in the MICU. Cases were matched to controls who did not develop airway stenosis based on identical Charlson Comorbidity Index scores. Eighty six controls were identified with a complete record of endotracheal/tracheostomy tube size, airway procedures, sociodemographic data, and medical diagnosis. Regression analysis showed that SGS or TS were associated with tracheostomy, bronchoscopy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, current tobacco use, gastroesophageal reflux disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, pneumonia, bronchitis, and numerous medication classes. Conclusion: Various conditions, procedures, and medications are associated with an increased risk of developing SGS or TS. Level of evidence: 4.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-707
Number of pages9
JournalLaryngoscope investigative otolaryngology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Laryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of The Triological Society.


  • intubation
  • subglottic stenosis
  • tracheal stenosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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