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Safe balloon sizing for endoscopic dilatation of subglottic stenosis in children

  • S D Sharma (a1), S L Gupta (a1), M Wyatt (a1), D Albert (a1) and B Hartley (a1)...
Abstract Objectives:

To describe our experience and provide guidelines for maximum safe balloon sizes according to age in children undergoing balloon dilatation.


A retrospective review was conducted of children undergoing balloon dilatation for subglottic stenosis in a paediatric tertiary unit between May 2006 and February 2016.


A total of 166 patients underwent balloon dilatation. Mean ( ± standard deviation) patient age was 4.5 ± 3.99 years. The median balloon size was 8 mm, the median balloon inflation pressure was 10 atm, and the mean balloon inflation time was 65.1 ± 18.6 seconds. No significant unexpected events occurred. The Pearson correlation co-efficient for the relationship between patient age and balloon size was 0.85 (p = 0.001), suggesting a strongly positive correlation.


This study demonstrated that balloon dilatation is a safe procedure for airway stenosis. The results suggest using a balloon diameter that is equal to the outer diameter of the age-appropriate endotracheal tube +1 mm for the larynx and subglottis and +2 mm for the trachea.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Mr Sunil Dutt Sharma, Department of Paediatric Otorhinolaryngology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, Great Ormond Street, London WC1N 3JH, UK Fax: +44 207 848 8644 E-mail:
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The Journal of Laryngology & Otology
  • ISSN: 0022-2151
  • EISSN: 1748-5460
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