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Potentially life-threatening emergency
Epiglottitis
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Potentially life-threatening emergency

Epiglottitis

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Contributors: Paul C. Bryson MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Synopsis

Epiglottitis is a potentially life-threatening inflammation of the epiglottis and supraglottic space caused by infection (eg, Haemophilus influenzae type b [Hib]) or injury (foreign body, caustic substance, thermal damage). As the epiglottis swells, it can cause airway obstruction and create a medical emergency. Presenting symptoms include high fever, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, dyspnea, hoarseness, stridor, tachycardia, drooling, and hot potato voice or dysphonia.

Protection of the airway is a priority, and treatment may require placement of an artificial airway, intravenous steroids, antimicrobial therapy to control infection, and surveillance in an intensive care unit. Tracheostomy may be required in severe cases. The prevalence of severe epiglottitis in children has been reduced substantially since Hib vaccination became routine in the United States and other developed countries. Prognosis has improved, particularly when intervention is prompt.

Codes

ICD10CM:
J05.10 – Acute epiglottitis without obstruction

SNOMEDCT:
80384002 – Epiglottitis

Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

Best Tests

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Therapy

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References

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Last Reviewed: 11/22/2016
Last Updated: 11/15/2017
Copyright © 2019 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.
Potentially life-threatening emergency
Epiglottitis
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View all Images (4)
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Epiglottitis : Fever, Drooling, Hoarseness, Dysphagia, Dyspnea, Pharyngitis, Stridor, WBC elevated, Hot potato voice
Imaging Studies image of Epiglottitis
Lateral cervical radiograph demonstrates thickening and irregularity of the epiglottis consistent with epiglottitis.
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