Center for Airway Disorders

Disorders of the trachea (windpipe) can affect the ability to breathe, eat and swallow normally. Depending on the specific condition, your child may experience symptoms such as wheezing, turning blue, aspirating (breathing in) food, choking and developing recurrent bouts of pneumonia. Because of the seriousness of these symptoms, children with airway disorders require expert care.

The Center for Airway Disorders (CAD) at Boston Children's Hospital cares for infants, children and young adults with airway problems — from common conditions to the most rare and complex disorders. Our airway team treats hundreds of patients each year, helping children born with laryngeal clefts, complete tracheal rings, laryngomalacia and other congenital airway anomalies.

Our approach to airway disorders

Boston Children’s Hospital has one of the largest pediatric otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) teams and the largest cardiovascular surgery team in the country. Our team also works closely with more than a dozen other departments and 40 specialists throughout the hospital, making it possible for your child to receive prompt, specialized care for any type of airway disorder — no matter how simple, complex or rare.

Our experienced clinicians have performed hundreds of minimally invasive (endoscopic) procedures, including those involving lasers, balloon dilation and microdebriders (a type of hand-held surgical cutting tool). These advanced procedures result in less pain and scarring and faster recovery for your child. We are also one of the few airway centers in the world that provides a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon on its leadership team for more complex procedures. Whatever treatment we recommend, our program coordinator will communicate with your child’s doctors and specialists back home to ensure seamless care at every step of your journey.