Dilatation tracheoscopy for laryngeal and tracheal stenosis in patients with Wegener’s granulomatosis
Five patients with subglottic stenosis, occurring either as a presenting symptom or as a manifestation in the course of a systemic disease, are described. Indirect immunofluorescence revealed the presence of circulating autoantibodies against both cytoplasmic and perinuclear constituents of neutrophils in all five. Antibodies directed against a 29 kDa antigen of the azurophilic granules (two patients), against myeloperoxidase (one patient), and against both the 29 kDa antigen and myeloperoxidase (one patient) were found by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. These autoantibodies have previously been found in patients with Wegener's granulomatosis, microscopic polyarteritis, (idiopathic) glomerulonephritis and Churg-Strauss syndrome. However, only one of these five patients fulfilled the criteria for these conditions. Since these autoantibodies are seldom observed in other conditions, and other diseases had been excluded by careful evaluation, we suggest that their presence places subglottic stenosis within the spectrum of necrotizing (granulomatous) vasculitis. Whether immunosuppressive therapy is always warranted in patients with subglottic stenosis and circulating anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies is a matter of debate.