Ever since I got out of the hospital for this last flare-up, Ive been noticing that when I take deep breaths in, I can hear (and feel) a slight inspiratory wheeze or airy sound coming from somewhere in my throat. More bothersome than the sound, I can actually feel some resistance as well. It feels like I’m breathing through a narrowed tube.
At first I thought that because I was weaning off the pred too fast, that my airways were rebelling by tightening up, but this sensation feels different than regular bronchospasm. Although very mild, it feels more like a permanent constricture in, or around the area of my vocal cords.
Well , after a week of trying to rule out possible causes, it finally dawned on me….. I probably have some kind of Tracheal Stenosis” or a vocal cord injury, related to my last intubation. I spoke with Dr W and she totally agreed with my assessment. An ENT doctor will have to look down my throat with a scope to confirm whether this is actually the problem, but I’m pretty confident it is. My only question is, is it my vocal cords that are jacked up, or is there some narrowing of the upper airway itself, and more important, can it be fixed?
From what little I know about this subject from working as an RT, Tracheal Stenosis is basically a narrowing of the trachea , either above or below the glottis, and is usually due to trauma caused when an Endotracheal tube is inserted in your windpipe ( Intubation).Although modern ET tubes are designed to be gentle on the airways, the physical presence of the breathing tube in your airway, can still cause damage and scarring to the surrounding tissue. The result, is swelling and/or thickening of that portion of the airway. The amount of time that the ET tube is in your airway is an important factor, as you’re more likely to develop a stenosis if you were intubated for a long period. But, that’s not always the case, especially when you’ve been intubated as many times as I have.
Up till now, this has been little more than an annoyance ,which only bothers me when I try to take a deep breath in. I am a little concerned however, that this could turn into a very serious problem the next time I have a major flare, so I just as soon get it checked and corrected as soon as possible.