Epiglottitis is an acute inflammation in the supraglottic region of the oropharynx with inflammation of the epiglottis, vallecula, arytenoids, and aryepiglottic folds. In adults, the most common organisms that cause acute epiglottitis areHaemophilus influenzae (25%), followed by H parainfluenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and group A streptococci. Noninfectious causes of epiglottitis are not uncommon and produce similar disease.
The signs and symptoms of epiglottis are as follows:
Diagnosis and Treatment
If the doctor suspects epiglottitis, the first priority is to ensure that the child's airway is open and that enough oxygen is getting through. A pulse oximeter is a device that estimates blood oxygen levels.
It is an uncommon disease with an incidence in adults of about 1 case per 100,000 per year. Adult epiglottitis is most frequently a disease of men (male-to-female ratio, approximately 3:1), occurring during the fifth decade of life (average age, about 45 y). Globally, epiglottitis is generally more common in nations that do not immunize against H influenzae type b.