Learn About Stridor

What is the definition of Stridor?

Stridor is an abnormal, high-pitched, musical breathing sound. It is caused by a blockage in the throat or voice box (larynx). It is most often heard when taking in a breath.

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What are the alternative names for Stridor?

Breathing sounds - abnormal; Extrathoracic airway obstruction; Wheezing - stridor

What is some background information about Stridor?

Children are at higher risk of airway blockage because they have narrower airways than adults. In young children, stridor is a sign of airway blockage. It must be treated right away to prevent the airway from becoming completely closed.

The airway can be blocked by an object, swollen tissues of the throat or upper airway, or a spasm of the airway muscles or the vocal cords.

What are the causes of Stridor?

Common causes of stridor include:

  • Airway injury
  • Allergic reaction
  • Problem breathing and a barking cough (croup)
  • Diagnostic tests such as bronchoscopy or laryngoscopy
  • Epiglottitis, inflammation of the cartilage that covers the windpipe
  • Inhaling an object such as a peanut or marble (foreign body aspiration)
  • Swelling and irritation of the voice box (laryngitis)
  • Neck surgery
  • Use of a breathing tube for a long time
  • Secretions such as phlegm (sputum)
  • Smoke inhalation or other inhalation injury
  • Swelling of the neck or face
  • Swollen tonsils or adenoids (such as with tonsillitis)
  • Vocal cord cancer
How do I perform a home exam for a Stridor?

Follow your health care provider's advice to treat the cause of the problem.

When should I contact a medical professional for Stridor?

Stridor may be a sign of an emergency. Call your provider right away if there is unexplained stridor, especially in a child.

What should I expect during a doctor appointment?

In an emergency, the provider will check the person's temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure, and may need to do abdominal thrusts.

A breathing tube may be needed if the person can't breathe properly.

After the person is stable, the provider may ask about the person's medical history, and perform a physical exam. This includes listening to the lungs.

Parents or caregivers may be asked the following medical history questions:

  • Is the abnormal breathing a high-pitched sound?
  • Did the breathing problem start suddenly?
  • Could the child have put something in their mouth?
  • Has the child been ill recently?
  • Is the child's neck or face swollen?
  • Has the child been coughing or complaining of a sore throat?
  • What other symptoms does the child have? (For example, nasal flaring or a bluish color to the skin, lips, or nails)
  • Is the child using chest muscles to breathe (intercostal retractions)?

Tests that may be done include:

  • Arterial blood gas analysis
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Chest CT scan
  • Laryngoscopy (examination of the voice box)
  • Pulse oximetry to measure blood oxygen level
  • X-ray of the chest or neck
Who are the top Stridor Local Doctors?
Highly rated in

European Respiratory Society


Andrew Bush is in Switzerland. Bush is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Stridor. They are also highly rated in 29 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are Asthma, Stridor, Cystic Fibrosis, and Bronchiectasis.

Highly rated in

Rakuwakai Otowa Hospital

Otowa, JP 60780

Yukio Nagasaka is in Otowa, Japan. Nagasaka is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Stridor. He is also highly rated in 2 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Stridor, Asthma, Chronic Eosinophilic Pneumonia, and Lung Cancer.

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Highly rated in
Pediatric Allergy and Immunology

Vanderbilt Children's Allergy And Immunology Clinic

719 Thompson Ln 
Nashville, TN 37204

Leonard Bacharier is a Pediatric Allergy and Immunologist and a Pediatrics doctor in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Bacharier has been practicing medicine for over 30 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Stridor. He is also highly rated in 4 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Stridor, Asthma in Children, Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection, and Vitamin D Deficiency. He is licensed to treat patients in Tennessee and Missouri. Dr. Bacharier is currently accepting new patients.

What are the latest Stridor Clinical Trials?
Saline Serum Versus Hypertonic Serum With Respiratory Physiotherapy in a Recurrent Wheezing Patient: a Multicenter Clinical Trial
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Urban Environment and Childhood Asthma (URECA)
What are the Latest Advances for Stridor?
A randomized clinical trial to assess the effect of zinc and vitamin D supplementation in addition to hypertonic saline on treatment of acute bronchiolitis.
Tired of the same old research?
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Clinical and quality of life assessment in patients with latex allergy during COVID-19 pandemic: Possible protective role of continuous latex immunotherapy.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: May 27, 2020
Published By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Griffiths AG. Chronic or recurrent respiratory symptoms. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 401.

Rose E. Pediatric respiratory emergencies: upper airway obstruction and infections. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 167.