steeple sign

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steeple sign

the radiologic image of subglottic narrowing from edema, suggestive of a steeple, seen in croup.
A term of art referring to the smoothly tapered—V-shaped—air shadow seen at the level of the larynx on an AP film of the upper airway in young children with croup caused by parainfluenza, other viruses and bacteria. The tapering is accompanied by a loss of the normal lateral convexities of the air column (’shouldering’) and is caused by subglottic trachea oedema and soft tissue inflammation, resulting in an appearance fancifully likened to a church steeple or gothic arch

steeple sign

Narrowing of the column of subglottic air in the trachea, seen on anteroposterior radiographs of the neck in children with croup.
See also: sign