Epiglottitis in adult
21 year old male presents with acute fever, trouble swallowing and sore throat.
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Single upright lateral radiograph reveals a markedly thickened epiglottis, the classic "thumb" appearance (arrow). Note is also made of oxygen tubing around the patient's ears and nose.
Acute epiglottitis most commonly occurs in kids between 2-8 years old but it can present in any age. Adult acute epiglottitis usually presents as upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). Adults do not present with the classic respiratory distress (i.e. stridor) and tripod posturing such as in children. The most common presentation in adults are:
- sore throat (100%)
- trouble swallowing (94%), and
- difficulty swallowing own secretions (63%).
- Ho MP, Chou AH, Huang SF et-al. Acute epiglottitis in a 79-year-old man. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2013;61 (2): 301-3. J Am Geriatr Soc (full text) - doi:10.1111/jgs.12111 - Pubmed citation
- Verbruggen K, Halewyck S, Deron P et-al. Epiglottitis and related complications in adults. Case reports and review of the literature. B-ENT. 2013;8 (2): 143-8. Pubmed citation
- Syed I, Odutoye T, Lee MS et-al. Management of acute epiglottitis in adults. Br J Hosp Med (Lond). 2011;72 (5): M74-6. Pubmed citation