The differential diagnosis of wheezing is wide, and the cause of wheezing in a given patient is determined by considering the characteristics of the wheezes and the historical and clinical findings made by the examining physician.
Common causes of wheezing are:
Less common causes of wheezing include:
The location of the wheeze can also be an important clue to the diagnosis. Diffuse processes that affect most parts of the lungs are more likely to produce wheezing that may be heard throughout the chest via a stethoscope. Localized processes, such as the occlusion of a portion of the respiratory tree, are more likely to produce wheezing at that location, whence the sound will be loudest and radiate outwardly. The pitch of a wheeze does not reliably predict the degree of narrowing in the affected airway.
A special type of wheeze is stridor. Stridor — the word is from the Latin, strīdor — is a harsh, high-pitched, vibrating sound that is heard in respiratory tract obstruction. Stridor heard solely in the expiratory phase of respiration usually indicates a lower respiratory tract obstruction, "as with aspiration of a foreign body (such as the fabled pediatric peanut)." Stridor in the inspiratory phase is usually heard with obstruction in the upper airways, such as the trachea, epiglottis, or larynx; because a block here means that no air may reach either lung, this condition is a medical emergency.
1 out of 3 preschool children and 2 out of 3 school children with recurrent wheezing/coughing are allergic. Allergy can be described as a malfunction of the human immune system causing a violent reaction against normally harmless substances in our natural environment. The reaction creates an inflammation which, in turn, can lead to a variety of symptoms such as wheezing.
Over the last decade allergy has increased rapidly in the Western world. Today one child in four is allergic. Early diagnosis of allergy is important for the development of the child later in life. There are many patients with symptoms suggesting eczema, rhinitis, hay fever, asthma or wheezing. Patients with these conditions may have an allergic condition or other diseases.
Wheeze detection in the pediatric intensive care unit: comparison among physician, nurses, respiratory therapists, and a computerized respiratory sound monitor.
Oct 01, 2008; OBJECTIVE: To correlate wheeze detection in the pediatric intensive care unit among staff members (a physician, nurses,...
All that wheezes is not pediatric asthma: many upper- and lower-airway problems can cause wheeze and cough, and some conditions coexist with asthma. Here's how to pin down a diagnosis.
Jan 01, 2007; Asthma causes more school absence than any other chronic childhood illness. The tremendous morbidity associated with this disease...