Acute epiglottitis in adults (the Singapore experience)

J Laryngol Otol. 1988 Nov;102(11):1017-21. doi: 10.1017/s0022215100107157.


Acute epiglottitis in adults is a potentially fatal but self-limiting disease of increasing incidence world-wide. Forty-two patients, seen consecutively over a four year period at the ENT Department, Singapore General Hospital were reviewed retrospectively. A strong male predominance with a peak age incidence in the sixth decade was noted. A severe sore throat and dysphagia with disproportionate signs of oropharyngeal inflammation was the main presenting picture. Only three patients had stridor on presentation. Vigilant monitoring of the airway with empirical high-dose intravenous ampicillin, cloxacillin and steroids resulted in a dramatic clinical improvement in most patients and none developed stridor after admission. The yield from throat swabs and blood cultures were low. Two patients developed complications, a Ludwigs angina and an epiglottic abscess. Recurrent epiglottitis was a problem in one patient. There was low morbidity and no mortality on the management regime outlined.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Emergencies
  • Epiglottitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Epiglottitis / microbiology
  • Epiglottitis / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laryngitis / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents