Stridor is noisy breathing that is caused by blocked airflow in your child’s windpipe.
Stridor is a condition that may happen when something is blocking your child’s upper airway. The high-pitched sound is usually heard when your child takes a breath in, but it may also be heard when your child breathes out.
When a child has stridor, it signals that something else is wrong, such as:
- A blockage in the windpipe
- Congenital (from birth) deformity
- Respiratory infection
Stridor occurs due to any condition that causes severe narrowing of your child’s airway.
The most common congenital (from birth) causes of stridor include:
- Laryngomalacia (collapsed tissue above the vocal cords)
- Subglottic hematoma (a mass of blood vessels growing in the airway)
- Subglottic stenosis (narrowing of the cartilage located directly below the vocal cords)
- Vocal cord paralysis
Other causes of stridor include:
- Bronchitis, croup and other respiratory infections
- Epiglottitis (bacterial infection that causes severe swelling of a flap of tissue at the base of the tongue)
- Swallowed object that gets stuck
- Swallowed substance that causes severe swelling inside the throat
- Tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils)
- Trauma to the windpipe, including neck fracture
The main symptom of stridor is a high-pitched sound that occurs during inspiration (breathing in) and sometimes expiration (breathing out).