Kaalan E Johnson, MD

Kaalan E Johnson, MD

Otolaryngology, Craniofacial Center, Aerodigestive Program, Airway and Esophageal Center

On staff since August 2013

Children's Title: Director, Aerodigestive Program

Academic Title: Associate Professor

Research Center: Center for Clinical and Translational Research, Center for Respiratory Biology and Therapeutics

"I moved from studying engineering to medicine when I realized how unique and truly powerful the interaction is between a patient and a doctor. What a wonderful opportunity we have everyday to make a positive impact on people's lives in such a tangible way. My interest in helping children with complex airway, breathing, and swallowing conditions is one avenue to have that positive impact on some of our most important functions of interactive life. Working in medical simulation has allowed me to find ways to teach others to provide this care in a more effective way. I feel so lucky to be at a place like Seattle Children's where I can work in all those areas in one amazing place."

  • Dr. Johnson is the Surgical Director of the Aerodigestive Program, Director of the Voice Program, and practices at Seattle Children's Hospital Campus, North Clinic, and Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center. He is an Associate Professor of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is a native of the northwest, but did his medical school in southern California and residency in Virginia before completing a fellowship in pediatric otolaryngology and first faculty position at Cincinnati Children's Hospital in Ohio.

    Dr. Johnson began working at Seattle Children's Hospital in 2013 and started seeing patients with complex airway, breathing, and swallowing problems in the Aerodigestive Clinic in 2014. Additional clinical interests include Tracheostomy / Airway Reconstruction, Voice, Exercise Induced Laryngeal Obstruction, Complex Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Nose & Sinus Surgery, and Ear Surgery. He has a long-term interest in medical simulation, and in addition to 3D Printing and Virtual Surgical Planning projects, he directs multiple simulation-based courses, and collaborates with the WWAMI Institute for Simulation in Healthcare (WISH) at the University of Washington.

    He lives with his wife, three children, and their dog, and enjoys wakeboarding, snowboarding, and any other adventure he can do with his kids, as well as all types of music.

    • Maureen Seattle, WA 02.21.18

      This is a very belated recommendation. Simply put, I believe Dr. Johnson saved my daughter's life. In 2014, my then 14-year old daughter had an undiagnosed trachea-esophageal fistula. She had suffered throughout her childhood with repeated respiratory infections and pneumonias. Her symptoms had become worse and most other doctors took a sort of shoulder-shrugging "who knows why" approach. Not Dr. Johnson. He listened to me, listened to my daughter, went in with a scope, and found that hidden fistula. Four surgeries later, my daughter was good as new. She has had virtually no respiratory issues since -- and is now in her first year of college on the east coast.

    • Aimee Marysville, WA 05.12.16

      After long months with our 24wkr micro preemie and 2 other nicus, a code and lots of scary close calls we came to Childrens for a controlled extubation and Dr Johnson went to bat for us to wait before traching our son, thus allowing him to stay another month in Nicu to grow and be truly sure we were doing right thing by placing trache. That's no cheap undertaking and even though we had to be trached in the end, he thrived so much afterwards that we knew it was right choice. But soooo appreciated Dr Johnson listening and understanding my need as a nurse and mother to be sure.... Good man, great surgeon and looking forward to getting that trache out next summer....

    • Katrina Olympia, Washington 04.27.16

      I would most definitely recommend Dr. Johnson. He is an amazing doctor, who with another surgeon, changed my life. I had broken my nose when i was younger and at 18 finally got it fixed. I can breathe 100% better not counting the fact that my nose is still in the healing process. I can even breathe while I have a stuffy nose and that did't happen for about 13 years. I can also smell food 110%!! Dr. Johnson was a gift from God. Before surgery our family prayed for a good doctor and our prayers were answered. Having surgery terrified me but as soon as you meet Dr. Johnson, it's as if your entire nervous system relaxes. HIs kind face and gentle movements also make you confident in his work. God bless you sir and help you continue your work.

    • Nicole Spanaway Washington 01.26.16

      Words will never be enough to explain how grateful our family is for Dr. Johnson. He has been working with two of her children for the past two years or so and has made our lives much easier when dealing with chronically ill children. He has gone above and beyond for our family so many times, fitting us in last minute for appointments, worked around our schedule, answered questions promptly via email on his days off and directed us in more areas to find answer for our children. Our kids love going to see him, and he makes the experience fun for the whole family. He is without a doubt, the best ent we have ever worked with. Thank you for all you have done and will do for our family, we are forever grateful.

    • Christine Cincinnati, OH 05.25.14

      My son saw Dr. Johnson while he was in Cincinnati. Dr. Johnson put one set of tubes in my son's ears and they lasted longer than his sisters' who both had tubes placed at least a year before him. I ended up switching both of my daughters to Dr. Johnson as their primary ENT and was so sad to see him leave. We have yet to find a doctor to replace him...

    • Desiree Edmonds, wa 04.04.14

      My son has been a patient of Dr Johnson for a few months. After a year of unknown reason for my sons aspiration, and countless visits to specialty doctors, Dr Johnson immediately knew the reason for my sons condition. He performed a surgical procedure yesterday at Seattle Children's to resolve my little guys problems. Dr Johnson has such great bedside manner, making us feel very confident in his professional expertise.He explains everything in a way that we can understand it. He is very patient and observant. He listens to our concerns and always answers our questions to the best of his abilities. Hands down..THE best! My son is 14months old.

    • Morgan Havelock,nc 10.01.13

      We saw dr Johnson for my son and saw him from 3 months old till 2 years. We saw him at least every six months and sometimes more. He performed procedures on our son and we couldn't have been handed a more perfect person for us and our son. We moved from ohio to nc and we were sad to tell him and not be able to be near him for future care of our son. At the same time we found out he was leaving Cincinnati children's. Seattle is soooo lucky to have such a gem. His bedside manner was the best I've seen anywhere and his knowledge and skill surpass that!

    • Russel Short Hills New Jersey 09.03.13

      My Son was a patient of Dr. Johnson at Cincinatti Childrens Hospital for 18 months. he operated on Nathaniel 8-9 times. He is amazing. He attention to detail, his surgical competence and his calm demeanor are all equally amazing. Seattle Children's is lucky to have him.

  • Award Name Award Description Awarded By Award Date
    Honor Award American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery 2020
    David Fisher Award for Excellence in Safety Award Winner in Team Category, “The Trach Safe Team.” Seattle Children’s Hospital 2019
    Seymour Cohen Award Winner Best Original Paper in Basic Research or Clinical Investigation. ABEA Meeting 2018
    Resident Teaching Award University of Washington Otolaryngology Graduation 2017
    1st Place, Resident Research Presentations Northeastern Ohio Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery Society Meeting 2014
    Unsung Heroes Award Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center 2010
    Eunice Baxter Award Awarded to the Outstanding Chief Surgical Resident of the Year Sentara Norfolk General Hospital 2009
    1st Place, Resident Research Podium Presentations Virginia Society of Otolaryngology Annual Meeting 2009
    1st Place, Basic Science Resident Research Award Awarded for the best basic science research project at the annual meeting for Otolaryngology. American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery 2007
    Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society Membership Alpha Omega Alpha 2004
  • Other Publications

    • Sidell DR, Balakrishnan K, Best SR, Zur K, Buckingham J, De Alarcon A, Baroody FM, Bock JM, Boss EF, Bower CM, Campisi P, Chen SF, Clarke JM, Clarke KD, Cocciaglia A, Cotton RT, Cuestas G, Davis KL, DeFago VH, Dikkers FG, Dossans I, Florez W, Fox E, Friedman AD, Grant N, Hamdi O, Hogikyan ND, Johnson K, Johnson LB, Johnson RF, Kelly P, Klein AM, Lawlor CM, Leboulanger N, Levy AG, Lam D, Licameli GR, Long S, Lott DG, Manrique D, McMurray JS, Meister KD, Messner AH, Mohr M, Mudd P, Mortelliti AJ, Novakovic D, Ongkasuwan J, Peer S, Piersiala K, Prager JD, Pransky SM, Preciado D, Raynor T, Rinkel RNPM, Rodriguez H, Rodríguez VP, Russell J, Scatolini ML, Scheffler P, Smith DF, Smith LP, Smith ME, Smith RJH, Sorom A, Steinberg A, Stith JA, Thompson D, Thompson JW, Varela P, White DR, Wineland AM, Yang CJ, Zdanski CJ, Derkay CS
      Systemic Bevacizumab for Treatment of Respiratory Papillomatosis: International Consensus Statement.
      33405268 The Laryngoscope, 2021 Jan 6
    • Filipek N, Kirkham E, Chen M, Ma CC, Horn DL, Johnson KE, Parikh SR
      Drug-induced sleep endoscopy directed surgery improves polysomnography measures in overweight and obese children with obstructive sleep apnea.
      33372808 Acta oto-laryngologica, 2020 Dec 29 : 1-6
    • Jáuregui EJ, Propst EJ, Johnson K
      Current management of type III and IV laryngotracheoesophageal clefts: the case for a revised cleft classification.
      33109943 Current opinion in otolaryngology & head and neck surgery, 2020 Dec. : 28(6)435-442
    • Faucett EA, Wolter NE, Balakrishnan K, Ishman SL, Mehta D, Parikh S, Nguyen LHP, Preciado D, Rutter MJ, Prager JD, Green GE, Pransky SM, Elluru R, Husein M, Roy S, Johnson KE, Friedberg J, Johnson RF, Bauman NM, Myer CM 4th, Deutsch ES, Gantwerker EA, Willging JP, Hart CK, Chun RH, Lam DJ, Ida JB, Manoukian JJ, White DR, Sidell DR, Wootten CT, Inglis AF, Derkay CS, Zalzal G, Molter DW, Ludemann JP, Choi S, Schraff S, Myer CM 3rd, Cotton RT, Vijayasekaran S, Zdanski CJ, El-Hakim H, Shah UK, Soma MA, Smith ME, Thompson DM, Javia LR, Zur KB, Sobol SE, Hartnick CJ, Rahbar R, Vaccani JP, Hartley B, Daniel SJ, Jacobs IN, Richter GT, de Alarcon A, Bromwich MA, Propst EJ
      Competency-Based Assessment Tool for Pediatric Esophagoscopy: International Modified Delphi Consensus.
      33034397 The Laryngoscope, 2020 Oct 9
    • Dahl JP, Coppess S, Propst EJ, Snoap A, Parikh SR, Inglis AF Jr, Cotton RT, Johnson K
      Development of a Modern Pediatric Airway Reference Tool.
      31886895 The Laryngoscope, 2020 Oct. : 130(10)2428-2431
    • Kirkham E, Ma CC, Filipek N, Horn DL, Johnson K, Chen ML, Parikh SR
      Polysomnography outcomes of sleep endoscopy-directed intervention in surgically naïve children at risk for persistent obstructive sleep apnea.
      31919717 Sleep & breathing = Schlaf & Atmung, 2020 Sept. : 24(3)1143-1150
    • Zenner K, Bonilla-Velez J, Johnson K, Bly RA
      Slide Tracheoplasty to Repair Stenotic Tracheal Cartilaginous Sleeve with Advanced Surgical Planning.
      32284001 Otolaryngology--head and neck surgery : official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 2020 Aug. : 163(2)391-393
    • Ong T, Liu CC, Elder L, Hill L, Abts M, Dahl JP, Evans KN, Parikh SR, Soares JJ, Striegl AM, Whitlock KB, Johnson KE
      The Trach Safe Initiative: A Quality Improvement Initiative to Reduce Mortality among Pediatric Tracheostomy Patients.
      32204663 Otolaryngology--head and neck surgery : official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 2020 Aug. : 163(2)221-231
    • Parikh SR, Bly RA, Bonilla-Velez J, Dahl JP, Evans SS, Horn DL, Johnson KE, Manning SC, Ou HC, Pattisapu P, Perkins JA, Sie KCY
      Pediatric Otolaryngology Divisional and Institutional Preparatory Response at Seattle Children's Hospital after COVID-19 Regional Exposure.
      32286910 Otolaryngology--head and neck surgery : official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 2020 June : 162(6)800-803
    • Liu CC, Soares JJ, Elder L, Hill L, Abts M, Bonilla-Velez J, Dahl JP, Johnson KE, Ong T, Striegl AM, Whitlock K, Parikh SR
      Surveillance endoscopy after tracheostomy placement in children: Findings and interventions.
      31670383 The Laryngoscope, 2020 May : 130(5)1327-1332
    • Sawyer T, Johnson K
      Neonatal Intubation: Past, Present, and Future.
      32358146 NeoReviews, 2020 May : 21(5)e335-e341
    • Zheng H, Iyer RS, Pacheco MC, Soares JJ, Johnson K, Len M, Ambartsumyan L
      Respiratory infections and chronic cough due to triple A (Allgrove) syndrome.
      32185032 Clinical case reports, 2020 March : 8(3)437-440 PMCID:PMC7069866
    • Miller C, Kirkham E, Ma CC, Filipek N, Horn DL, Johnson K, Chen ML, Parikh SR
      Polysomnography outcomes in children with small tonsils undergoing drug-induced sleep endoscopy-directed surgery.
      30575040 The Laryngoscope, 2019 Dec. : 129(12)2771-2774
    • Padia R, Coppess S, Horn DL, Parikh SR, Hoang J, Faherty A, DeMarre K, Johnson K
      Pediatric dysphagia: Is interarytenoid mucosal height significant?
      30671968 The Laryngoscope, 2019 Nov. : 129(11)2588-2593
    • Wick EH, Johnson K, Demarre K, Faherty A, Parikh S, Horn DL
      Reliability and Construct Validity of the Penetration-Aspiration Scale for Quantifying Pediatric Outcomes after Interarytenoid Augmentation.
      31426703 Otolaryngology--head and neck surgery : official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 2019 Nov. : 161(5)862-869
    • Coppess S, Soares J, Frogner BK, DeMarre K, Faherty A, Hoang J, Shah M, MacKinnon M, Johnson K
      A pilot study assessing clinic value in pediatric pharyngeal dysphagia: The OPPS/cost method.
      30284270 The Laryngoscope, 2019 July : 129(7)1527-1532
    • Padia R, Miller C, Patak L, Friedman SD, Stone K, Otjen J, Johnson K
      Simulation-Guided Tracheotomy in a Patient With Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva.
      30582158 The Laryngoscope, 2019 April : 129(4)812-817
    • Coppess S, Padia R, Horn D, Parikh SR, Inglis A, Bly R, Dahl J, Dudley D, Johnson K
      Standardizing Laryngeal Cleft Evaluations: Reliability of the Interarytenoid Assessment Protocol.
      30322357 Otolaryngology--head and neck surgery : official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 2019 March : 160(3)533-539
    • Hinchcliff M, Kao M, Johnson K
      The importance of technical skills assessment during an airway foreign body removal course.
      30579061 International journal of pediatric otorhinolaryngology, 2019 Feb. : 1171-5
    • Miller AL, Hersh CJ, Johnson KE, Hartnick CJ
      Short-term swallowing outcomes following type 1 laryngeal cleft injection.
      30554689 International journal of pediatric otorhinolaryngology, 2019 Jan. : 116159-163
    • Hopper RA, Kapadia H, Susarla S, Bly R, Johnson K
      Counterclockwise Craniofacial Distraction Osteogenesis for Tracheostomy-Dependent Children with Treacher Collins Syndrome.
      29870506 Plastic and reconstructive surgery, 2018 Aug. : 142(2)447-457
    • Rutter MJ, Hart CK, Alarcon A, Daniel SJ, Parikh SR, Balakrishnan K, Lam D, Johnson K, Sidell DR
      Endoscopic anterior-posterior cricoid split for pediatric bilateral vocal fold paralysis.
      28271539 The Laryngoscope, 2018 Jan. : 128(1)257-263
    • Bowe SN, Johnson K, Puscas L
      Facilitation and Debriefing in Simulation Education.
      28822579 Otolaryngologic clinics of North America, 2017 Oct. : 50(5)989-1001
    • Callahan E, Bly R, Johnson K, Aghdasi N, Hannaford B, Moe K, Sardesai MG
      Wrist Motion Variation between Novices and Experienced Surgeons Performing Simulated Airway Surgery.
      30480197 OTO open, 2017 Oct. : 1(4)2473974X17738959 PMCID:PMC6239156
    • Miller C, Purcell PL, Dahl JP, Johnson K, Horn DL, Chen ML, Chan DK, Parikh SR
      Clinically small tonsils are typically not obstructive in children during drug-induced sleep endoscopy.
      28008627 The Laryngoscope, 2017 Aug. : 127(8)1943-1949 PMCID:PMC5892447
    • Harbison RA, Johnson KE, Miller C, Sardesai MG, Davis GE
      Face, content, and construct validation of a low-cost, non-biologic, sinus surgery task trainer and knowledge-based curriculum.
      27865063 International forum of allergy & rhinology, 2017 April : 7(4)405-413 PMCID:PMC5386817
    • Wiebracht ND, Giliberto JP, Myer C 4th, Casper K, Johnson KE
      Pilot testing of a novel surgical simulator for endoscopic zenker's diverticulotomy.
      27900775 The Laryngoscope, 2017 March : 127(3)592-596
    • Dahl JP, Miller C, Purcell PL, Zopf DA, Johnson K, Horn DL, Chen ML, Chan DK, Parikh SR
      Airway Obstruction during Drug-Induced Sleep Endoscopy Correlates with Apnea-Hypopnea Index and Oxygen Nadir in Children.
      27301902 Otolaryngology--head and neck surgery : official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 2016 Oct. : 155(4)676-80
    • Johnson K, Tabangin M, Meinzen-Derr J, Cohen AP, Greinwald JH
      High-frequency sensorineural hearing loss in children.
      26266337 The Laryngoscope, 2016 May : 126(5)1236-40
    • Johnson K, Geis G, Oehler J, Meinzen-Derr J, Bauer J, Myer C, Kerrey B
      Simulation to implement a novel system of care for pediatric critical airway obstruction.
      23069820 Archives of otolaryngology--head & neck surgery, 2012 Oct. : 138(10)907-11
    • Ishman SL, Benke JR, Johnson KE, Zur KB, Jacobs IN, Thorne MC, Brown DJ, Lin SY, Bhatti N, Deutsch ES
      Blinded Evaluation of Interrater Reliability of an Operative Competency Assessment Tool for Direct Laryngoscopy and Rigid Bronchoscopy.
      22986639 Archives of otolaryngology--head & neck surgery, 2012 Sep 17 : 1-7
    • Johnson K, Brehm SB, Weinrich B, Meinzen-Derr J, de Alarcon A
      Comparison of the Pediatric Voice Handicap Index with perceptual voice analysis in pediatric patients with vocal fold lesions.
      22183908 Archives of otolaryngology--head & neck surgery, 2011 Dec. : 137(12)1258-62
    • Houlton JJ, de Alarcon A, Johnson K, Meinzen-Derr J, Brehm SB, Weinrich B, Elluru RG
      Voice outcomes following adult cricotracheal resection.
      22024843 The Laryngoscope, 2011 Sept. : 121(9)1910-4
    • Hopkins BS, Johnson KE, Ksiazek JM, Sun G, Greinwald JH, Rutter M
      H1N1 influenza A presenting as bacterial tracheitis.
      20304287 Otolaryngology--head and neck surgery : official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 2010 April : 142(4)612-4
    • Johnson K, Derkay C
      Palliative aspects of recurrent respiratory papillomatosis.
      19134490 Otolaryngologic clinics of North America, 2009 Feb. : 42(1)57-70, viii
    • Johnson K, Vaughan A, Derkay C, Welch JC, Werner A, Kuhn MA, Singletary S, Bondy P
      Microdebrider vs electrocautery: a comparison of tonsillar wound healing histopathology in a canine model.
      18359359 Otolaryngology--head and neck surgery : official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 2008 April : 138(4)486-91
    • Johnson K, Pineda M, Darrow D, Proud V, Derkay C
      Neonatal upper airway obstruction in osteogenesis imperfecta: series of three cases and review of the literature.
      18254368 The Annals of otology, rhinology, and laryngology, 2008 Jan. : 117(1)27-31
    • Florea A, Zwart JE, Lee CW, Depew A, Park SK, Inman J, Wareham R, Johnson K, John E, Wall GM, Jung T
      Effect of topical dexamethasone versus rimexolone on middle ear inflammation in experimental otitis media with effusion.
      16864486 Acta oto-laryngologica, 2006 Sept. : 126(9)910-5


Board Certification(s)


Medical/Professional School

Loma Linda University School Of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA


University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN


Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH

Clinical Interests

Aerodigestive conditions including complex airway, breathing, and swallowing issues, aspiration, laryngeal clefts, airway reconstruction, subglottic stenosis, obstructive sleep apnea, and tracheotomy management. Additional interests include sinusitis and skull base surgery, acute and chronic ear disease, and otolaryngologic manifestations of craniofacial disorders.