Stridor is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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Emergency Central

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  • High-pitched audible wheezing and vibratory harsh sounds mainly on inspiration.
  • Impedance of air movement through the upper airway.
  • It implies a laryngotracheal airway obstruction.


  • Congenital:
    • Laryngomalacia
    • Laryngeal webs/rings
  • Vocal cord dysfunction:
    • Congenital
    • Surgical injury
    • Postintubation trauma
    • Thyroid malignancy
    • Mediastinal mass
    • Neural abnormalities (e.g., meningomyelocele, Arnold–Chiari malformation)
  • Subglottic stenosis:
    • Postoperative scarring
    • After radiation therapy
    • After prolonged endotracheal intubation
  • Subglottic hemangioma
  • Infection:
    • Bacterial tracheitis
    • Epiglottitis
    • Viral croup
    • Peritonsillar abscess
    • Retropharyngeal abscess
    • Supraglottitis
    • Uvulitis (e.g., Quincke disease)
    • Ludwig angina
    • Diphtheria
    • Tetanus
  • Extrinsic compression:
    • Trauma
    • Hematoma
    • Vascular anomalies (e.g., rings)
  • Intraluminal obstruction of the trachea:
    • Foreign body
    • Tracheomalacia
    • Cyst
    • Invasive tumors
    • Squamous cell
    • Lymphomas
    • Thyroid masses/carcinomas
    • Laryngeal or tracheal papilloma
  • Angioedema

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