A systematic review of surgical treatment for supraglottic exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction


Objectives: Exercise-induced laryngeal obstruction (EILO) is a condition causing breathing difficulties and stridor during exercise. The condition has in severe cases been treated surgically with supraglottoplasty. The purpose of this systematic review is to assess the evidence and recommendations for surgical intervention in treating patients with EILO.

Methods: A systematic search was performed in PubMed and Embase to identify relevant studies describing surgical treatment of patients diagnosed with severe EILO. According to eligibility criteria, data were independently extracted by two reviewers. To assess the risk of bias of each included study, the Newcastle-Ottawa scale (NOS) was used.

Results: The screening process identified 11 observational studies with a total of 75 patients. Findings indicated that many beneficial outcomes are to be found in surgical treatment for EILO. These indications were found both on visual verification of improvement of the laryngeal obstruction during exercise and patient self-reported symptom severity. The average NOS score (4.3) indicated low level of evidence in the included studies.

Conclusion: Studies reporting effects of surgical treatment of EILO have shown promising results in patients with laryngeal obstruction. However, the heterogeneity of study methodologies and the level of evidence precludes definitive recommendations for or against supraglottoplasty at this time; prospective and methodologically robust studies are now needed.

Level of Evidence: 4.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLaryngoscope Investigative Otolaryngology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)227-233
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


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