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A stertor is a respiratory sound characterized by heavy snoring or gasping. It is caused by partial obstruction of airway above the level of the larynx and by vibrations of tissue of the naso-pharynx, pharynx or soft palate (this distinguishes it from stridor, which is caused by turbulent air flow below or in the larynx). It is low-pitched, non-musical, and occurs during the inspiratory phase only. In general terms it is a snoring or snuffly sound. Stertorous breathing will be audible during the post-ictal phase after a tonic-clonic seizure.
- Loss of nervous control of the pharynx, soft palate, particularly from damage for instance by stroke or tumor to the vagus and hypoglossal cranial nerves
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Upper airway resistance syndrome
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