Upper airway obstruction is an emergency that requires quick and decisive intervention. Stridor is the sound created by airflow through a partially obstructed airway, and has been described to vary with the site and degree of obstruction. This study sought to determine the sound characteristics of stridor in the excised human larynx. Five fresh cadaver human larynges were harvested and subjected to obstructions at supraglottic, glottic, and subglottic subsites. Subglottic pressure, airflow, and audio signal were recorded. Data were analyzed on the basis of laryngeal obstruction subsite and the degree of laryngeal resistance. Visual inspection demonstrated certain trends in peak spectral energy depending on the site and, more significantly, the amount of obstruction. Statistical analysis of spectral waveforms showed better correlation with the amount of obstruction than with the site of obstruction. In summary, the frequency distribution of stridor produced in an excised human larynx was influenced by the amount of laryngeal resistance, but not by the site of airway obstruction.
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