Health Topics

Laryngeal Cleft

There are two tubes in your neck:

  • The esophagus (ih-sof-uh-guh s), which helps food and liquid pass from our mouth to the stomach
  • The trachea (tray-kee-ah), which takes oxygen to our lungs as we breathe in.   

The larynx (our voice box) sits at the top of the trachea, right next to the esophagus and helps keep any food or liquid from getting into the tube leading to our lungs.

What is a Laryngeal Cleft (or Laryngotracheoesophageal Cleft)?

The larynx and the esophagus should not have any type of space or gap between them.  When a gap exists, it is known as a laryngeal cleft.  With a cleft, food or liquids can go into the airway tube when the child swallows.

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What are the Causes?

What are the Signs and Symptoms?

How Do You Diagnose a Laryngeal Cleft?

What is the Treatment?

Last Updated: 03/2012