Laryngeal Cleft

Also known as: laryngotracheal cleft, LTC.

What is laryngeal cleft?

When the body develops normally, the larynx (voice box) sits above the trachea (windpipe), right next to the esophagus. If a laryngeal cleft is present, there’s a gap between the larynx and esophagus that can allow food or liquids to enter the trachea.

What causes laryngeal cleft?

Laryngeal cleft develops in the fetus during the first few months of pregnancy. The exact cause is not known.

What are the symptoms of laryngeal cleft?

Babies with laryngeal cleft often choke during feedings, cough and have poor weight gain, shortness of breath, hoarseness, pauses while breathing or noisy breathing, frequent infections, gastric reflux or food or liquid entering the lungs. 

What are laryngeal cleft care options?

If the symptoms are mild, the patient may simply need to be monitored to ensure that the condition doesn’t worsen. More serious laryngeal cleft problems will need to be repaired surgically.

Reviewed by: Brian Ho, MD

This page was last updated on: 3/23/2018 2:10:30 PM

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