Stridor | Diagnosis & Treatments

How is stridor diagnosed?

Stridor is usually diagnosed solely on the medical history and physical examination of your child. It is important to remember that stridor is a symptom of some underlying problem or condition. If your child has stridor, your child's physician may order some of the following tests to help determine the cause of the stridor:

  • chest x-rays: a diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones and organs onto film
  • blood tests
  • pulse oximetry: an oximeter is a small machine that measures the amount of oxygen in the blood. To obtain this measurement, a small sensor (like a Band-Aid) is taped onto your child’s finger or toe. When the machine is on, a small red light can be seen in the sensor. The sensor is painless and the red light does not get hot.
  • sputum culture: a diagnostic test performed on the material that is coughed up from the lungs and into the mouth

What treatments are available for stridor?

Specific treatment for stridor will be determined by your child's physician and may include:

  • referral to an ear, nose, and throat specialist (otolaryngologist) for further evaluation (if your child has a history of stridor)
  • surgery
  • medications by mouth or injection (to help decrease the swelling in the airways)

Depending on the severity of the stridor and what is causing it, hospitalization and emergency surgery may be necessary.