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What is Laryngotracheobronchitis?

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Laryngotracheobronchitis, commonly known as croup, refers to the inflammation or irritation of the

larynx and trachea and bronchial passageways. The inflammation is usually due to viral invasion


especially that of the Para-influenza type 1. This inflammatory process causes varying degrees of airway obstruction:

  • Narrowing of the subglottic airway causing obstruction of the subglottic airway and the larynx.
  • Narrowing of the bronchial tubes causing obstruction of the bronchial tubes (asthma), preventing air form entering or exiting the lungs area.
  • Narrowing of the larynx causing hoarseness of the voice

Laryngotracheobronchitis is more prevalent in infants and children between 3 months to 3 years old, most of which are males, but may also occur at any age. Laryngotracheobronchitis is most common in 18 months old infants and is usually accompanied by a barking cough.

Croup usually lasts for about 5 days but may persist for 10 days if not given medical attention. If croup persists for weeks or recurs, you must see your child's doctor to determine the cause and discuss treatment options.

What causes Laryngotracheobronchitis?

Laryngotracheobronchitis is virally transmitted, meaning that the initial cause of this disorder is a virus. Research depicts the usual or common cause of this disorder is Para-influenza type 1 (this is a virus responsible for causing most upper respiratory infections).

The following are several other viruses that may cause Croup:

Always visit your health specialist and help him/her define your symptoms to determine the cause of your condition.

  • Rhinovirus
  • Adenovirus
  • Measles virus
  • Enterovirus
  • Reovirus
  • Respiratory syncytial virus
  • Coxsackievirus
  • Influenza virus type A
  • Paramyxovirus

If your bronchi, larynx or your trachea has been invaded by one or a combination of the above mentioned virus, you are likely to develop croup. If untreated, the swelling may extend to the upper part of the trachea affecting the epiglottis. When your epiglottis become inflamed, you may develop a fatal sickness called epiglottitis.

What are the symptoms of Laryngotracheobronchitis?

The symptoms of laryngotracheobronchitis are severe and fatal at night, between 6pm and 6am, and are worse during the first two nights. A sufferer may experience a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Inspiratory stridor
  • Harsh or brassy cough
  • Hoarseness
  • Mild cold with low grade fever and a runny nose
  • Fatigue
  • Restless
  • Sleep apnea
  • Loss of appetite

Typically symptoms of croup may seem or sound better during the day but worsen at night. Steam or cool air might briefly reduce the swelling in the larynx, the trachea and bronchus and improve the symptoms. Click here for treatment options for laryngotracheobronchitis.

Other topics on Upper Respiratory Disorders:

  1. Sinusitis
  2. Halitosis
  3. Tonsillitis
  4. Epiglottitis
  5. Dysphagia
  6. Sore throats











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