Stridor is not a scientifically valid outcome measure for assessing airway injury

Paediatr Anaesth. 2009 Jul;19 Suppl 1:180-97. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9592.2009.03004.x.


Since about a decade cuffed intubation is becoming more popular in pediatric anesthesia. Studies supporting cuffed intubation compared cuffed and uncuffed intubation by using stridor as main outcome measure after extubation. No differentiations were made between benign (oedema) and severe (ulceration of mucosa) lesions. Stridor was considered to represent all relevant injuries. Far reaching conclusions for daily practice were drawn from these studies. Pediatric endoscopists and - ENT-surgeons with extensive experience in this field have warned against this opinion because significant injury of the airway is not always accompanied by stridor! The symptom of stridor might develop weeks and months after injury when silent ulcerations of the mucosa retract to significant stenosis. Only endoscopy can evidently detect all airway injuries. Studies describing airway injury by endoscopic control are urgently needed to find the best way of preventing airway injury by intubation.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cricoid Cartilage / injuries
  • Cricoid Cartilage / pathology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / adverse effects*
  • Laryngoscopy
  • Larynx / injuries
  • Respiratory Sounds / diagnosis*
  • Respiratory System / injuries*
  • Respiratory System / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trachea / injuries
  • Trachea / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wounds and Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology