The key difference between stridor and stertor is that stridor is a type of noisy breathing that is typically high pitched, and the noise is created in or just below the voice box, while stertor is a type of noisy breathing that is typically low pitched and the noise is created in the nose or the back of the throat.
Stridor and stertor are two different types of noisy breathing. Noisy breathing is a common breathing condition, especially in children. It is normally caused by a partial blockage or narrowing at some point in the airways, including the mouth or nose, the throat, larynx, trachea, or further down in the lungs.
What is Stridor?
Stridor is noisy breathing that normally occurs at the level of the larynx or below. Stridor can be further sub-divided into three types: inspiratory (noise created at the level of the supraglottis), expiratory (noise created at the level of the glottis), and biphasic (created at the level of subglottis or trachea). Stridor breathing is a symptom or sign that points to a specific airway disorder. Any cause that narrows the airway can cause stridor. In infants, stridor generally indicates a congenital disorder such as laryngomalacia, vocal cord paralysis, or subglottic stenosis. Moreover, if a toddler or older children get stridor, it may be due to an infection like croup or papillomatosis. In rare cases, stridor occurs secondary to trauma or foreign body aspiration.
Stridor can be diagnosed through flexible laryngoscopy, plain X-ray, airway fluoroscopy, barium swallow, CT scan of the chest, magnetic resonance imaging, or magnetic resonance angiography. Furthermore, treatments for stridor may include observation, medications (reflux medications or steroids to reduce airway swelling), endoscopic surgery, and open surgery.
What is Stertor?
Stertor is a type of noisy breathing that occurs above the larynx. In Latin, stertor means “snore” and was first used in 1804. It is a noisy breathing sound like snoring. It is typically caused by the obstruction of the upper airways at the level of the pharynx and nasopharynx. Stertor is low-pitched, non-musical, and is only generated during the inspiratory phase. Normally, it is a snoring or snuffly sound. Stertorous noisy breathing can be audible during the post-ictal phase or stage after a tonic-clonic seizure (grand mal seizure or GTCS). Stertor can be caused due to a loss of nervous control of the pharynx, obstructive sleep apnea, and upper airway resistance syndrome.
This condition can be diagnosed through physical examination, nasopharyngoscopy, operative laryngoscopy, bronchoscopy, X-rays, sleep studies, and swallowing studies. Furthermore, stertor treatment options include supportive care, medications (oxygen, nebulized adrenaline, dexamethasone), and surgery.
What are the Similarities Between Stridor and Stertor?
- Stridor and stertor are two different types of noisy breathing.
- Both types are due to upper respiratory tract obstruction.
- They can occur in the inspiratory
- They can be treated through specific medications and surgeries.
What is the Difference Between Stridor and Stertor?
Stridor is a type of noisy breathing that is typically high pitched, and the noise is created in or just below the voice box, while stertor is a type of noisy breathing that is typically low pitched, and the noise is created in the nose or the back of the throat. Thus, this is the key difference between stridor and stertor. Furthermore, stridor occurs in both inspiratory and expiratory phases, while stertor occurs in only the inspiratory phase.
The below infographic presents the differences between stridor and stertor in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Stridor vs Stertor
Stridor and stertor are two different types of noisy breathing. Stridor is noisy breathing that normally occurs at the level of the larynx or below, while stertor is a type of noisy breathing that occurs above the larynx. Stridor is a high-pitched noise, while stertor is a low-pitched noise. So, this is the summary of the difference between stridor and stertor.
1. Phillips, Natalie. “What You Need to Know about Stridor (or High-Pitched Wheezing).” Healthline, Healthline Media, 31 July 2019.
2. “Noisy Breathing (Stertor, Stridor or Wheezing).” (Stertor, Stridor, Wheezing): Diagnosis and Treatment.” Nation Wide Children.org
1. “Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis” By Mikael Häggström – Own work (CC0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Blausen 0872 Upper Respiratory System” By Blausen.com staff (2014). Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014". WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436. – Own work (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia