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Wednesday, August 19, 2009 asthma sufferer, Community Member, asks

Q: what does it mean to have extrathoracic airway obstruction?

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Answers (1)
John Bottrell, Health Pro
8/19/09 6:09pm

That is a great question.  This refers to an obstruction of the trachea, either above or below the vocal cords.  It usually occurs in children because they have narrower airways. The most common type of extrathoracic obstruction we see in the emergency room I work in is croup, which causes swelling around the vocal cords and causes the child to have a barky cough that sounds like a seal, or a constant noise on inspiration called stridor.  It can also be caused by an object like a hotdog getting stuck in the trachea, cancer around the traches, tonsillitis, or other process.  According to our site, "Stridor may indicate an emergency and should always be evaluated immediately by a health care provider"


(To read more about extrathoracic airway obstruction you can check out this link.) 

asthma sufferer, Community Member
8/20/09 9:49am

Thank you so much for the explanation. I have been diagnosed as a chronic asthmatic for quite some years now and i sent to file with disability by my doctor and pulmonologist. I was sent for a Pulmonary Function Test and was sent back with these findings:

-Apparent restrictive pattern on spirometry

-No significant improvement in air flow or vital capasity flowing the admininstration of   bronchodilators.

-Their is a cut off of the inspiratory limb of the flow volume loop suggestive of variable extrathoracic airway obstruction.


Not sure if you would be able to help explain this to me into lament terms, but if you would give it a try i would appreciate it. Smile

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By asthma sufferer, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/25/10, First Published: 08/19/09