Congenital Vallecular Cyst as a Cause of Neonatal Stridor and Apnea

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An infant who presents with stridor and apnea constitutes a challenge for emergency physicians in terms of diagnosis and management. Among the rarest of causes for these symptoms, congenital vallecular cysts can cause devastating outcomes if left undiagnosed. Reported here is a case of intermittent episodes of stridor and apnea in a 4-day-old neonate with a previously undiagnosed vallecular cyst. The process by which the infant was stabilized, correctly diagnosed, and successfully treated for a life-threatening airway obstruction is explained. After a discussion of vallecular cysts, methods for preparing for and executing proper airway management in an infant who presents with apnea and stridor are considered.

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