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Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis

Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis Symptoms and Causes

Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP) is a rare disease that is characterized by tumors that grow in the respiratory tract, the air passages leading from the nose and mouth into the lungs.

Although the tumors can grow anywhere in the respiratory tract, their presence in the larynx (voice box) causes the most frequent problems, a condition called laryngeal papillomatosis. The tumors may vary in size and grow very quickly. They often grow back even when removed.

Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis (RRP) Symptoms:

Symptoms include:

  • Voice that is persistently hoarse, weak, low in pitch, breathy or strained
  • Dysphonia -- difficulty in speaking
  • Aphonia -- loss of voice
  • Breathing difficulties

In young children, recurrent respiratory papillomatosis symptoms may be:

  • Weak cry
  • Chronic cough
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Stridor -- a condition that causes noisy breathing (a high-pitched whistle or snore) as children strain during inhalation, usually as they sleep. In these cases, the child should receive immediate attention by an otolaryngologist, because there could be an upper respiratory obstruction.

Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis (RRP) Causes:

Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP) is caused by two types of human papilloma virus—HPV 6 and HPV 11. Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis affects adults, as well as infants and small children, who may have contracted the virus during childbirth.