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Airway conditions affect millions of people and include a wide range of disorders. Skilled diagnosis and appropriate treatment are key to successfully managing these conditions.
UT Southwestern Medical Center’s multidisciplinary team uses the most advanced techniques and technologies to evaluate, diagnose, and treat people suffering from the full range of airway conditions.
Comprehensive Care for Every Airway Condition
The airway, also known as the respiratory tract, is made up of many specialized organs and structures that enable us to breathe. The upper airway includes the nasal cavities, pharynx, larynx, trachea, epiglottis, and glottis. The lower airway includes the bronchi, bronchioles, and alveolar structures.
There are many types of airway conditions, cancerous and noncancerous, and they can be caused by disease, structural abnormalities, injury, and factors such as infection, allergies, and medical treatments. Issues can be acute or chronic and can arise in both the upper and lower portions of the airway.
UT Southwestern’s multidisciplinary airway program includes physicians and surgeons who specialize in ear, nose, and throat (otolaryngology); lung (pulmonology); thoracic surgery; and cancer (oncology). Many of these experts see patients at UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in North Texas.
Types of Airway Conditions
Airway conditions include:
- Asthma: A chronic lung condition that causes inflammation
and narrowing of the airway
- Benign airway tumors: Noncancerous masses
that arise in the airway
- Lung diseases: Including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
(COPD) and cystic fibrosis
- Airway stenosis: A narrowing of the
- Airway cancer: A rare cancer that
occurs in the airway
- Airway fistulas: Holes that occur in the membranes that separate the airway from adjacent
Diagnosis of Airway Conditions
If our team suspects that someone is suffering from an airway condition, we first conduct a thorough physical examination and inquire about the patient’s and family’s medical history. Diagnostic testing for airway conditions can include:
- Thoracic (chest) imaging studies, including X-rays, computed tomography (CT), fluoroscopy, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound
- Bronchoscopy, endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS), and other interventional lung procedures
- Laboratory studies
- Tissue sample (biopsy)
Treatment of Airway Conditions
The treatment for airway conditions depends on the nature of the problem. UT Southwestern offers treatments that include:
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Fort Worth, Texas 76104 214-645-7700