Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis Clinical Presentation

Updated: Dec 14, 2020
  • Author: Eloise M Harman, MD; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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History and Physical Examination


Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP)is a rare disease, and adult patients may have symptoms for months or longer before the disease is recognized. Because the larynx is the most frequently affected site for both juvenile‐onset recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (JO‐RRP) and adult–onset recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (AO‐RRP), symptoms of upper airway obstruction predominate. Upper airway obstruction may be life threatening and may be the presenting symptom. Hoarseness is the most common presenting symptom. Other symptoms include the following:

  • Voice change

  • Choking episodes

  • Foreign body sensation in the throat

  • Cough

  • Dyspnea

  • Inspiratory wheeze

  • Stridor

Physical examination

Physical examination findings often are nonspecific. Voice change may be noted. Inspiratory wheezing, stridor, or both may develop over the trachea or the upper thorax.

Patients with JORRP commonly present with a weak cry, episodes of choking, hoarseness, or failure to thrive. Patients with AORRP present with hoarseness, choking spells, voice change, dyspnea, or a foreign body sensation in the throat.