Monday, May 09, 2005

Stridor and Wheezing - Symptoms, Not Diagnoses

I was just on the BabyCenter boards, and I noticed that someone's doctor had diagnosed their incredibly sick child with Stridor.

A peds ER doctor had diagnosed her child - who had collapsed and turned pale and blue with O2 level of 89 - with severe asthma. The pediatrician had "corrected" the diagnosis and called it Stridor.

Now, I've been an "Asthma Mom" for two years now, and I have never heard of "Stridor."

So, being the research geek I am, I Googled it. Here's the best info I found:

Stridor is the audible symptom produced by the rapid, turbulent flow of air
through a narrowed segment of the respiratory tract, more specifically, the
large airways. It is often the most prominent symptom of airway obstruction
in the pediatric patient. Proper management is possible only after a precise
diagnosis has been established.

Stridor is a symptom and not a diagnosis. It cannot be managed appropriately on
the basis of a presumptive or inferential diagnosis.

Stridor is most often inspiratory. It typically originates from the
larynx, upper trachea, or hypopharynx. The term stertor has been
used to describe the low-pitched inspiratory snoring sound typically
produced by nasal or nasopharyngeal obstruction.

So, basically, stridor is pretty much the sound your wheezing child makes on the inhale. It is *not* a diagnosis. And it seems to occur most often during a case of croup, as far as I can tell.

I have to think that the asthma mom on the babycenter board misunderstood her doctor. Either that, or the guy got his med school degree from IDG ("Pediatrics for Dummies?")

But either way, I hope she takes my advice and finds a peds. pulmonologist!


Anonymous said...

That's funny coz I did the exact same research as you and found the same thing. Pediatrician like to generalize too much (stridor is a symptom, not a dignosis) and since they don't want parents to worry, don't like to explain things. Now only if I could bypass the pediatrician and go directly to a pulmonologist or other specialist to diagnose exactly what is the cause (rather than ignore and say it is common and goes away in 3 months).

Anonymous said...

I have been dealing with stridor for a over a year. My 20 month old has been wheezing since she was a couple of weeks old and is finally growing out of it. Her larynx was over developed in the front and under developed in the back so it would collapse on top of its self everytime she breathed in it has been to say the least a very scary time for us we have had to rush her to the er several times because she was turning blue. But now that it is getting better the doctor told me she has exercise induced asthma cause everytime she starts running she starts wheezing again.