Hysterical stridor: a benign cause of upper airway obstruction

Ann Emerg Med. 1989 Sep;18(9):991-4. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(89)80467-6.


We present the cases of three patients with stridor that resolved spontaneously. Paradoxical vocal cord motion was documented in one patient. Normal vocal cord motion was present in the other two patients, but stridor had resolved in both cases. Many different terms have been used to describe this entity in the literature. Emergency physicians must recognize the subtle signs of hysterical stridor. Once more serious etiologies are ruled out, sedation and reassurance instead of aggressive airway intervention are required for this benign condition.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Airway Obstruction / etiology*
  • Child
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Respiratory Sounds / physiopathology*
  • Vocal Cords