Clinical Picture: We describe 3 patients with perioperative wheezing, 2 of whom were treated with bronchodilators on the presumptive diagnosis of bronchospasm.Treatment and Outcome: Subsequent clinical improvement occurred when it was recognised that the wheezing was due to upper airway obstruction and stridor, not bronchospasm and rhonchi, and appropriate treatment instituted.
Perioperative “wheezing” can be due to upper or lower airway obstruction. The signs and sounds of upper airway obstruction are typically worse during inspiration, whereas those of lower airway obstruction are worse in expiration.
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