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Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2011 Oct;268(10):1485-92. doi: 10.1007/s00405-011-1656-1. Epub 2011 Jun 5.

Exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction: natural history and effect of surgical treatment.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Haukeland University Hospital, 5021 Bergen, Norway.


The current follow-up study concerning the supraglottic type of exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction (EILO) was performed to reveal the natural history of supraglottic EILO and compare the symptoms, as well as the laryngeal function in conservatively versus surgically treated patients. A questionnaire-based survey was conducted 2-5 years after EILO was diagnosed by a continuous laryngoscopy exercise (CLE) test in 94 patients with a predominantly supraglottic obstruction. Seventy-one patients had been treated conservatively and 23 with laser supraglottoplasty. The questionnaire response rate was 70 and 100% in conservatively treated (CT) and surgically treated (ST) patients, respectively. A second CLE test was performed in 14 CT and 19 ST patients. A visual analogue scale on symptom severity indicated improvements in both the groups, i.e. mean values (± standard deviations) declined from 73 (20) to 53 (26) (P < 0.001) in the CT group and from 87 (26) to 25 (27) (P < 0.001) in the ST group. At follow-up, ST patients reported lower scores regarding current level of complaints, and higher ability to perform exercise, as well as to push themselves physically, all compared to CT patients (P < 0.001). CLE scores were normalized in 3 of 14 (21%) CT and 16 of 19 (84%) ST patients (Z = -3.6; P < 0.001). In conclusion, symptoms of EILO diagnosed in adolescents generally decreased during 2-5 years follow-up period but even more after the surgical treatment. Patients with supraglottic EILO may benefit from supraglottoplasty both as to laryngeal function and symptom relief.

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