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Stridor

Stridor is a term that health professionals use to describe noisy breathing caused by a blockage in the voice box or the windpipe .

When a baby or child breathes, air passes through the nose and over the back of the tongue, through the larynx, into the trachea and then into the lungs. The larynx is the voice box, and the trachea is the windpipe.

Your child’s voice box is the larynx. The larynx serves important functions:

-It allows your child to breathe

-It ensures that when feeding things don't go down the wrong way

-It produces the voice

 

So although it is called the voice box, it actually has other functions as important as voice.

 

Stridor means that there is a blockage in the larynx or trachea. There are lots of reasons why this could happen. The commonest would be floppy larynx, with other conditions being vocal cord palsy, floppy windpipe, warts on the voice box and others!

Remember that the stridor just means noisy breathing. The really important thing to know is WHY this is happening. Have a look at the section on airway evaluation, and at other specific problems on this website.

Section contributor:

Quentin Bounduelle MRCS DOHNS

Core Surgery Doctor