Aerodigestive Conditions We Treat

At the Aerodigestive Center at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, we diagnose and treat a range of complex breathing and swallowing disorders.

These disorders can involve the:

  • Nose
  • Mouth
  • Throat
  • Airway
  • Lungs
  • Esophagus (food pipe)
  • Stomach

We take a complete approach to provide your child with the best care and long-term outcomes.

Breathing and Swallowing Conditions We Treat

  • Atresia of the larynx. A rare condition present at birth, in which cartilage or tissue blocks the voice box part of the airway.
  • Choanal atresia. A rare condition in which there's a blockage on 1 or both sides of the nasal cavity at birth.
  • Complete tracheal rings. A problem in the cartilage rings in the trachea, leading to breathing trouble.
  • Dysphagia and aspiration. A rare swallowing condition that causes foods and liquids to enter the lungs.
  • Esophageal atresia. A rare birth defect in which a baby is born without part of the esophagus.
  • GERD. A condition in which consumed food and liquid, as well as stomach acids, come back up the food pipe
  • Glottic stenosis. A narrowing of the larynx at the vocal cords.
  • Laryngeal clefts. Congenital malformations that create an opening between the food pipe and the lungs.
  • Laryngomalacia. A common cause of noisy breathing in infants, due to floppy tissue in the voice box.
  • Posterior glottic stenosis. A narrowing in the back of the voice box that causes severe respiratory symptoms.
  • Pyriform aperture stenosis. A rare overgrowth of the jawbone at birth that narrows the nasal opening.
  • Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis. Rare wart-like growths on or around the vocal cords that cause hoarseness and loud breathing.
  • Saccular cysts. Cysts found in the soft tissue in the voice box that can make it hard to breathe and cause loud breathing.
  • Severe obstructive sleep apnea. A condition in which the upper airway narrows or caves in during sleep, causing severe snoring.
  • Stridor. A high-pitched, wheezing sound caused by reduced airflow when breathing.
  • Subglottic cysts. Fluid-filled cysts in the lower part of the voice box.
  • Subglottic hemangioma. A benign tumor in the airway often found below the vocal cords.
  • Subglottic stenosis. Narrowing of the airway just below the vocal cords and above the trachea.
  • Supraglottic stenosis. Narrowing or swelling of the upper part of the voice box.
  • Tracheal stenosis. Narrowing of the trachea, the part of the airway between the voice box and the lungs.
  • Tracheocutaneous fistula. When the opening in the neck for a short-term tracheostomy fails to heal.
  • Tracheoesophageal fistula. An abnormal connection between the esophagus and the trachea.
  • Tracheomalacia. A condition where the walls of the trachea collapse, causing loud breathing.
  • Tracheostomy dependence. When a child can't breathe without a trach tube.
  • Trauma to the larynx. An injury to the voice box caused by a fall or blow to the throat.
  • Vallecular cysts. Cysts found at the base of the tongue, which can cause respiratory distress.
  • Vocal fold paralysis. A voice disorder caused when one or both of the vocal folds don't properly open and close.