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An Evidence-Based Approach To The Evaluation And Treatment Of Croup In Children

September 2012

Abstract

Croup is a viral childhood infection characterized by the acute onset of barky cough and stridor that is a common cause of pediatric presentations to emergency departments and primary care centers. It is usually a mild, self-limited disease, but, in some rare cases, croup may lead to upper airway obstruction and respiratory failure. All children presenting with croup should be treated with oral dexamethasone to reduce the severity of symptoms and rate of revisits or admissions to the hospital. Children exhibiting signs of upper airway obstruction should be treated with nebulized epinephrine. There is no evidence, to date, to show that humidified air or heliox are of benefit when treating children with croup. Appropriate discharge instructions should be given to caregivers to prevent unnecessary or delayed visits to the emergency department. This review focuses on the clinical evaluation and treatment of children with croup by offering a thorough examination of the recent advances in treatment and recommendations on the necessity of appropriate disposition and follow-up.

Keywords: croup, acute laryngotracheitis  and acute laryngotracheobronchitis

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