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Self-Assessment Questions

Emergency Medicine

Pediatric Airway Emergencies: Review Questions

Muhammad Waseem, MD

Dr. Waseem is an assistant professor of emergency medicine in clinical pediatrics, Weil Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY, and attending physcian, LIncoln Hospital, Bronx, NY.



Choose the single best answer for each question.

1. Which of the following statements regarding the pediatric airway as compared with the adult airway is true?
  1. A child has a smaller tongue relative to the size of the oral cavity
  2. An infant’s epiglottis is relatively short and thicker
  3. The vocal cords in infants have a higher attachment
  4. In children younger than 10 years, the narrowest portion of the airway is below the vocal cords
  5. In children, endotracheal tube size should be selected based on the glottic opening
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2. An 18-month-old boy presents to the emergency department (ED) with a 3-day history of cough, runny nose, and fever. In the ED, he is alert and playful but has marked inspiratory stridor. Which of the following is the most common etiology for this patient’s clinical condition?

  1. Foreign body
  2. Mycoplasma pneumoniae
  3. Parainfluenza virus
  4. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  5. Streptococcus pyogenes
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3. A 3-year-old boy develops fever and noisy breathing. In the ED, he is irritable, anxious, and has stridor and drooling. He does not want to lie down. His mother reports up-to-date immunizations. What is the most appropriate next step in this patient’s management?

  1. Immediate administration of intravenous antibiotics
  2. Immediately visualize the epiglottis to confirm epiglottitis
  3. Keep the child in a position of comfort pending endotracheal intubation
  4. Obtain complete blood count and blood culture
  5. Obtain lateral neck radiograph
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4. A 5-month-old previously healthy male infant presents to the ED with cough and dyspnea for 2 days and a temperature of 38.4°C (101.1°F). There is no family history of asthma. He is tachypneic (respiratory rate, 48 breaths/min) and has bilateral expiratory wheezing and subcostal retractions. His oxygen saturation is 93% to 94%. Which of the following is the most common cause of his illness?
  1. Adenovirus
  2. M. pneumoniae
  3. Parainfluenza virus
  4. RSV
  5. Staphylococcus aureus
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5. Which of the following statements regarding pneumonia in children is true?

  1. Blood cultures frequently reveal the cause of pneumonia in children
  2. Cough is the most prominent symptom in neonates with pneumonia
  3. Cough is the best single predictor of pneumonia
  4. Dehydration is the most common systemic complication
  5. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of pneumonia
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Updated 1/04/08 • kkj