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Children's Health

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Reflux May Contribute to Croup

Children With Recurrent Croup Should Be Tested for Reflux, Experts Say
By Caroline Wilbert
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sept. 22, 2008 -- Researchers at a medical conference this week are suggesting that children with recurrent croup be tested for reflux, which may be a contributing factor.

As any parent who has listened to a child with croup can attest, it is a scary sound. Croup is characterized by a loud cough that sounds like a seal barking. There can also be wheezing and difficulty breathing.

Though it is commonly believed that croup is caused by a virus, upper airway complications have also been considered a factor.

Researchers evaluated 80 children with recurrent croup (more than three episodes in a year) and found that 26 had narrowing of the airways. Of those with narrowed airways, 19 had acid reflux that backed up into the throat and voice box area.

Overall, 56% of the children were suspected to have reflux after evaluation and testing.

The researchers presented their findings at the 2008 American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery annual meeting in Chicago.

They suggest that children with multiple episodes of croup be tested for reflux. With proper preventive treatment of reflux, future episodes of croup may be avoided.

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