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Breathing sounds - abnormal (stridor)
Alternative namesStridor is an abnormal, high-pitched, musical breathing sound caused by a blockage in the throat or larynx, also called an extrathoracic airway obstruction. It is usually heard when inhaling (see wheezing and abnormal lung sounds). Stridor may indicate an emergency and should always be evaluated immediately by a health care provider.
ConsiderationsChildren are at higher risk of airway obstruction because they have narrower airways than adults. In young children, stridor is a significant sign of airway obstruction and must be treated immediately in order to prevent total airway obstruction.
The airway can be obstructed by an object, by swelling of the tissues of the throat or upper airway, or by spasm of the airway muscles or the vocal cords.
Home CareFollow prescribed therapy in treating the underlying cause. See also first-aid measures for choking .
Call your health care provider if
Call your health care provider if there is any indication of unexplained stridor, especially in a child.
In emergency situations, vital signs (temperature, pulse, rate of breathing, blood pressure) will be monitored, and the Heimlich maneuver may be necessary. Then the medical history will be obtained, and a physical examination performed. Intubation (insertion of a "breathing tube") may be necessary if there is inability to breathe properly (respiratory failure).
Medical history questions documenting abnormal breathing sounds in detail may include:
Diagnostic tests that may be performed include:
You may want to add a diagnosis related to stridor to your personal medical record.
Update Date: 11/10/2003John Goldenring, M.D., MPH, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital, San Diego, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT