Airway obstruction – acute upper
An acute upper airway obstruction is a blockage of the upper airway, which can be in the trachea, voice box (laryngeal), or throat (pharyngeal) areas.
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Causes of acute upper airway obstruction include:
* Allergic reactions in which the trachea or throat swell closed, including allergic reactions to a bee sting, peanuts, antibiotics (penicillin), and blood pressure medications (ACE inhibitors)
* Chemical burns and reactions
* Epiglottitis (infection of the structure separating the trachea from the esophagus)
* Fire or burns from breathing in smoke
* Foreign bodies — such as peanuts and other breathed-in foods, pieces of a balloon, buttons, coins, and small toys
* Viral or bacteria infections
* Peritonsillar abscess
* Retropharyngeal abscess
* Throat cancer
* Vocal cord problems
Pictures & Images
Choking is the hindrance of breathing due to an obstruction of the throat or windpipe. The Heimlich maneuver should be conducted to try to dislodge the object.
Air is breathed in through the nasal passageways, travels through the trachea and bronchi to the lungs.
Reviewed By : Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, Clinic. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.