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Early recognition and critical management of adult epiglottitis in the emergency department: a case report and review of the literature

  • Pavarit Piyachon1
  • Korsin Laohavisudhi1
  • Wachira Wongtanasarasin1
  • Krongkarn Sutham1

1Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, 50200 Chiang Mai, Thailand

DOI: 10.22514/sv.2021.072

Submitted: 19 February 2021 Accepted: 17 March 2021

Online publish date: 22 April 2021

*Corresponding Author(s): Krongkarn Sutham E-mail:


Background: Acute epiglottitis was considered a disease of the pediatric population. However, it has constantly been a report of a certain number of adult cases. Death by airway obstruction is caused by delayed diagnosis and untimely invasive airway management contributing to the higher mortality rate in adults.

Case presentation: We presented a case of a 24-year-old male patient without significant underlying condition, who presented at our emergency department with a progressive sore throat and high-graded fever for one day. After a set of investigations, the patient was diagnosed with acute epiglottitis, and airway management was managed accordingly. His conditions improved after a course of antibiotic treatment during hospital admission.

Conclusion: Acute epiglottitis in adults is not frequently encountered in the emergency department. This case underlines the importance of clinical suspicions in cases with consistent symptoms as well as the excellent utility of lateral neck radiography for the diagnosis of this life-threatening entity.


Epiglottitis; Airway management; Emergency department

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Pavarit Piyachon,Korsin Laohavisudhi,Wachira Wongtanasarasin,Krongkarn Sutham. Early recognition and critical management of adult epiglottitis in the emergency department: a case report and review of the literature. Signa Vitae. 2021.doi:10.22514/sv.2021.072.


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