Advertisement
Feature Article

Acute upper airways obstruction in children

Gary C Geelhoed

Figures

Abstract

Croup will be encountered by all GPs and is generally easy to treat. However, careful assessment is essential to exclude sinister causes of obstruction and prevent progression of a ‘typical’ case to a life threatening situation.

Key Points

  • Acute upper respiratory obstruction in children is common and is usually caused by croup.
  • Almost all children who present with croup will benefit from a one-off dose of oral corticosteroids.
  • Adrenaline is useful for more severe cases of croup. However, its effects are short lived and it does not change the natural history of croup.
  • The possibility of other problems should always be kept in mind, and will often be uncovered by a complete history and examination.
  • Other causes should be considered in any child who has severe symptoms, does not respond early to treatment, or has a prolonged course.

Figures