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Aerodigestive Program Helps Madison Breathe Easier

Born with her vocal cords fused together and subglottic stenosis (narrowing of the area of the windpipe just below the vocal folds), Madison, 1 year old, has been under the care of Lurie Children’s Division of Otolaryngology (ENT) since birth. “The plan was to wait for airway surgery in order to allow Madison to grow and to get stronger,” say Becca and Mike, her parents.  “We had scheduled surgery for June 1, however, Madison became very ill in the beginning of May suffering from a urinary tract infection and three respiratory viruses. She was so sick that we rushed her to our nearby hospital. She actually went into septic shock. We almost lost her. Needless to say airway surgery was put on hold.”

Once stabilized at the outside hospital, Lurie Children’s Transport Team picked up Madison to transfer her to the Lefkofsky Family Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Lurie Children’s. “She spent three weeks in the PICU. The amazing PICU team worked diligently to save our baby girl,” says Becca.

On August 24, 2017, Madison had fully recovered from septic shock and was strong enough for the much anticipated airway surgery. “We had waited for this day all summer with much anxiety. Her very unique airway anatomy made the surgery high risk,” says Mike.

Madison underwent laryngeotracheal reconstruction, enlarging her narrow airway. The surgery led by Dr. Jonathan Ida, Medical Director, Aerodigestive Program, was a success. “Dr. Ida, Dr. Rastatter and the entire aerodigestive ENT team were in the operating room with Madison that day,” says Mike. “They took a piece of rib cage cartilage, cut open her small airway and sewed the cartilage on to her airway to make it the correct size. They also were able to cut open her fused vocal cords. Her fused vocal cord web was the thickest they’ve ever seen.”


Breathing Easier


After surgery, Madison recovered once again in the PICU. “Everyone in the PICU and the entire ENT team took the most amazing care of Madison, ensuring she was safe and optimizing her care to make for the best recovery,” says Becca. Today, post-surgery, Madison is back to her smiley self, full of personality and meeting developmental milestones thanks to the help of Lurie Children’s Physical and Occupational Therapy teams.

Just three weeks after surgery, Madison’s airway was 100% healed. Before leaving the PICU, Madison was presented with a much-deserved “Certificate of Bravery” from her ENT/Aerodigestive team.  And shortly after discharged, she celebrated her first birthday at home with an appropriate Wonder Woman themed-party.

“Now Madison has her big girl airway, and we can rest a little easier knowing she is no longer at such high risk,” say Becca and Mike. “We literally owe her life to the amazing doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists in the PICU. Dr. Ida and the ENT team did such an amazing job on her surgery, her recovery and everything in between. We can’t thank them enough for everything they have done for our real life Wonder Woman. My husband and I are blown away by the absolute world-class, amazing care that we’ve experienced here.”




Aerodigestive Program


The Aerodigestive Program at Lurie Children’s serves children with complex airway, pulmonary, upper digestive, sleep and swallowing disorders. Our team strives to provide patient and family centered care in a coordinated, safe, and compassionate manner. As regional leaders in pediatric healthcare, we aim to serve local, national and international populations with an emphasis on personalized care.

Disorders We Manage

  • Airway Stenosis (subglottic stenosis, glottic stenosis, laryngeal web, laryngeal atresia, tracheal stenosis, complete tracheal rings)
  • Aspiration
  • Bronchomalacia​
  • Chronic Lung Disease
  • Esophageal Disorders
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD)​
  • Laryngeal Cleft
  • Laryngomalacia
  • Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disorder (LPRD)
  • Noisy breathing
  • Sleep Disordered Breathing/Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
  • Tracheoesophageal Fistula
  • Tracheomalacia
  • Tracheostomy Dependence​
  • Vocal Cord Paralysis


Lurie Children’s Aerodigestive Team


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