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<< Management of Airway Obstruction and Stridor in Pediatric Patients

Introduction

Respiratory distress is one of the most common reasons children present to the emergency department (ED), accounting for 10% of visits.1 Life-threatening airway emergencies are often secondary to obstruction and must be recognized quickly. Upper airway obstruction in children can range from partial to complete, and often presents with stridor, a high-pitched breath sound produced by turbulent air-flow through a partially obstructed airway. Stridor can be acute or chronic, and acquired or congenital. Because stridor is a sign and not a diagnosis, the underlying etiology must be identified to guide management.2,3 In the ED, identifying severe and life-threatening causes of stridor and acting quickly are crucial to preventing respiratory failure.

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