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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2020 Jan;36(1):e14-e17. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000001624.

Not All Stridor Is Croup.

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From the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC 27127.



Emergency providers often attribute stridor to croup in pediatric patients. However, even in children who are having other symptoms of a viral etiology, several other causes need to be considered.


A 6-month-old term male without significant past medical history presented to the emergency department with stridor with likely underlying laryngospasm. He was initially ascribed the diagnosis of croup and was discharged home after receiving steroids and racemic epinephrine. However, he returned hours later after a seizure event at home. A thorough evaluation revealed an ionized calcium of 0.49 mmol/L, and further history revealed the patient was being fed a coconut water-based homemade solution for several months. He was subsequently found to have rickets and delay in milestone achievement. Awareness of hypocalcemia as a possible cause of laryngospasm is important because of the potential life-threatening effects of critically low calcium. Hypocalcemia should be included in the differential diagnosis of any child who presents with stridor, especially if lacking other symptoms of a viral illness.

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