Upper Airway Disorders: Stridor & Laryngotracheal Stenosis


The Upper Airway is that part of the airway (the breathing passage) that extends from the nose to the trachea, and includes the nasal cavities, the throat (the pharynx) and the voicebox (the larynx). Narrowing in the upper airway may cause serious symptoms, such as shortness of breath (especially on exertion) and stridor, a high pitched sound heard during inspiration (breathing in or inhaling), or during both inspiration and expiration (taking a breathing out or exhaling).

Narrowing of the larynx caused by scarring (posterior glottic stenosis or subglottic stenosis), narrowing of the trachea caused by scarring (tracheal stenosis), bilateral vocal fold paralysis, throat infections and tumours in the throat are the main conditions associated with stridor. These conditions can be life threatening, especially if symptoms develop suddenly and quickly.