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What is stridor?

Stridor is a high-pitched sound that is usually heard best when a child breaths in (inspiration). It is usually caused by an obstruction or narrowing in your child's upper airway. The upper airway consists of the following structures in the upper respiratory system:

Illustration of the sinuses
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The sound of stridor depends on location of the obstruction in the upper respiratory tract. Usually, the stridor is heard when the child breathes in (inspiration), but can also be heard when the child breathes out (expiration).

What are the causes of stridor?

There are many different causes of stridor. Some of the causes are diseases, while others are problems with the anatomical structure of the child's airway. The upper airway in children is shorter and narrower than that of an adult, and, therefore, more likely to lead to problems with obstruction. The following are some of the more common causes of stridor in children:

How is stridor diagnosed?

Stridor is usually diagnosed solely on the medical history and physical examination of your child. It is important to remember that stridor is a symptom of some underlying problem or condition. If your child has stridor, your child's physician may order some of the following tests to help determine the cause of the stridor:

Treatment of stridor:

Specific treatment of stridor will be determined by your child's physician based on:

Treatment may include:

Hospitalization and emergency surgery may be necessary depending on the severity of the stridor.

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