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Stridor is respiratory noise from the upper airway. It is described as an unusual sound that some infants make when they breathe. Stridor is not a condition, rather it is a symptom of airway blockage, including:
- Vocal cord paralysis
- Infections of the throat
- Laryngotracheal stenosis (narrowing of the airway in the throat or windpipe)
- Airway or neck cysts or masses
- Airway foreign body
- Allergic reaction and airway swelling
- Croup, a viral inflammation of the voice box
- Paradoxical vocal cord function
Stridor can be a sign of a serious problem and may need rapid evaluation if your child is having difficulty breathing or gaining weight.
Evaluating children with stridor
Our experts—pediatric otolaryngologists (ENTs) at the Johns Hopkins Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology—evaluate children with stridor. The evaluation begins by listening to a child or infant, allowing for our physicians to narrow the number of possible diagnoses. Evaluation with endoscope is usually carried out to further examine the airway and make the most accurate diagnosis.
Sometimes advanced diagnostic testing may be needed, including airway evaluation (endoscopy) in the operating room, CT scans or MRIs. In these cases, our team can arrange for the necessary tests. Because we only take care of children, we know how to administer these tests to make them as painless and stress-free as possible.
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