[Epiglottitis in adults]

Harefuah. 1990 Sep;119(5-6):128-31.
[Article in Hebrew]


Acute epiglottitis in the child is an emergency, well known to pediatricians, that requires rapid diagnosis and treatment. Aggressive treatment in recent years has markedly decreased mortality (17). Acute epiglottitis in adults has been thought to be rare, but lately numerous studies have shown an increase in the disease. We present 19 older patients, aged 13-72 (mean 44.7 years), with acute epiglottitis. A most important finding was the relatively long time from onset of symptoms until diagnosis, averaging 2.5 days. All the blood and throat cultures were negative, except for a single throat culture which yielded Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The most common presenting symptoms were severe sore-throat and dysphagia; half presented with some respiratory distress. Diagnosis was usually made on indirect laryngoscopy, but lateral X-ray of the soft tissues of the neck was found to be highly reliable. Treatment was usually conservative, including antibiotics, rehydration and steroids to alleviate edema. All patients were under strict observation for the first 48 hours, but only 1 required intubation. There were no deaths.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Epiglottitis / diagnosis*
  • Epiglottitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Epiglottitis / microbiology
  • Epiglottitis / therapy
  • Humans
  • Laryngoscopy
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck / diagnostic imaging
  • Radiography