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October 1990

Functional Upper Airway Obstruction in Adolescents

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology, Kaplan Hospital (Dr Ophir); and the Department of Pediatrics (Drs Tavori and Aladjem) and the Allergy and Immunology Unit (Dr Katz), Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, Rehovot, Israel.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1990;116(10):1208-1209. doi:10.1001/archotol.1990.01870100102023

• Functional upper airway obstruction is an uncommon manifestation of a conversive reaction characterized by recurrent stridor attacks caused by adduction of the vocal cords during inspiration. The oxygen saturation never drops to pathologic levels. The stridor is not accompanied by an appropriate degree of anxiety and is not associated with other symptoms. Patients benefit from verbal reassurance and speech therapy, but stridor attacks tend to recur and psychiatric consultation seems necessary in most cases. We present the case histories of three adolescent patients with nonorganic upper airway obstruction and describe the features that may facilitate the diagnosis of this condition. Early diagnosis and intervention may prevent unnecessary and potentially harmful investigations and therapy.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1990;116:1208-1209)

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