Airway Problems

Airway problems in children can lead to a variety of health issues, most notably difficult breathing. There are a variety of factors that can lead to airway problems – some minor, others serious. Figuring out the underlying condition responsible for your child’s breathing troubles is the key to coming up with a treatment solution.

What Causes Airway Problems?

Breathing problems in children can be caused by a number of different conditions. Respiratory tract infections can lead to colds, flue, sinusitis, bronchiolitis, croup, asthma, and pneumonia, all of which can lead to shortness of breath, rapid breathing, wheezing, and congestion, interfering with the normal breathing process.

Silent reflux, or laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), is a condition similar to acid reflux (GERD), only without the associated heartburn. It is the result of acids in the stomach back up, or “refluxing,” into the throat and esophagus. It can cause airway problems in children such as swallowing trouble, sore throat, postnasal drip, coughing, and wheezing.

Other conditions that may affect a child’s breathing include allergies, sleep apnea, and teething.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Proper diagnosis of what is causing your child’s airway problems is crucial to figuring out a treatment solution. Your child’s doctor will give a thorough physical exam, and will review his or her medical history while asking questions about symptoms. Diagnostic tests may be ordered to help determine the cause; these may include x-rays, CT scan, MRI, an examination of the vocal cords known as a laryngoscopy, and an examination of the lungs and trachea called a bronchoscopy.

With a diverse range of causes, there is no single specific treatment for pediatric airway problems; it all depends on the underlying condition responsible for your child’s symptoms. Possible solutions include smaller and more frequent feedings, medication, and surgery.