The Westley score helps to assess the severity of Croup:
- Score ≤ 2: Mild croup.
- Score from 3 to 5: Moderate croup.
- Score of 6 to 11: Severe croup.
- Score ≥ 12: imminent respiratory distress.
Croup (or laryngo-tracheo-bronchitis) is a respiratory condition usually triggered by an acute viral infection of the upper airways. The infection leads to swelling inside the throat, which interferes with normal breathing and produces the classic symptoms: so-called “barking cough”, stridor, dysphonia. Croup can produce mild to severe symptoms, often worse at night. It is often treated with a single dose of oral steroids. Occasionally adrenaline is used if the case is severe. Hospitalization is rarely required.
Croup is diagnosed clinically after excluding other potential and more severe causes of the symptoms, such as epiglottitis or the presence of a foreign body in the airways. Further research, such as blood tests, x-rays or cultures, is rarely necessary. It is a relatively common condition that can affect up to 15% of children in some locations, most commonly between 6 months and 5-6 years of age. It is almost never seen in adolescents or adults.
Although originally attributed to diphtheria, this etiology is now rare in the Western world thanks to the success of vaccination.