Grant’s Story

Expanding Grant’s Airway

Just home from the hospital, Melissa’s infant son sounded raspy when breathing, as if he constantly fought congestion, even though he didn’t.

Born two and a half months early, Grant was in a regional hospital’s NICU for two months, and during that time he developed an E. coli infection that required him to be intubated with a breathing tube to support his lungs and on an oscillating ventilator for more than three weeks. Once the tube was removed, his breathing sounded labored.

Doctors would later discover that Grant had a narrower than normal subglottis, the smallest part of the airway. A narrow subglottis is not unusual for children born prematurely, and Grant’s was further narrowed by scarring from an extended intubation.

Days before a December surgery to expand Grant’s airway, Melissa became alarmed that her son was gasping and panicking as he tried to breathe.

“I’ve never been more scared in my life,” she says.

Grant was given breathing treatments that stabilized him at a local hospital. Then he was driven by ambulance to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. There Jonathan M. Grischkan, MD, MS, performed the surgery to expand his subglottis by removing a piece of his own rib cartilage and grafting it onto his subglottis to expand the airway size and allow him to breathe more easily. As Grant grows, his subglottis is expected to widen with him.

Now 15 months old, Grant is far more active than he ever was. He crawls, plays, lifts himself up, babbles constantly and screams.

“He doesn’t sound like a raspy little old man anymore,” Melissa says.

Grant’s ability to breathe is no longer a source of constant worry for his mother, who spent nights wondering if her infant son might stop breathing.

https://flutter.nationwidechildrens.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Grant-Cropped-e1509995280942.jpg

Expanding Grant’s Airway

Just home from the hospital, Melissa’s infant son sounded raspy when breathing, as if he constantly fought congestion, even though he didn’t.

Born two and a half months early, Grant was in a regional hospital’s NICU for two months, and during that time he developed an E. coli infection that required him to be intubated with a breathing tube to support his lungs and on an oscillating ventilator for more than three weeks. Once the tube was removed, his breathing sounded labored.

Doctors would later discover that Grant had a narrower than normal subglottis, the smallest part of the airway. A narrow subglottis is not unusual for children born prematurely, and Grant’s was further narrowed by scarring from an extended intubation.

Days before a December surgery to expand Grant’s airway, Melissa became alarmed that her son was gasping and panicking as he tried to breathe.

“I’ve never been more scared in my life,” she says.

Grant was given breathing treatments that stabilized him at a local hospital. Then he was driven by ambulance to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. There Jonathan M. Grischkan, MD, MS, performed the surgery to expand his subglottis by removing a piece of his own rib cartilage and grafting it onto his subglottis to expand the airway size and allow him to breathe more easily. As Grant grows, his subglottis is expected to widen with him.

Now 15 months old, Grant is far more active than he ever was. He crawls, plays, lifts himself up, babbles constantly and screams.

“He doesn’t sound like a raspy little old man anymore,” Melissa says.

Grant’s ability to breathe is no longer a source of constant worry for his mother, who spent nights wondering if her infant son might stop breathing.

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