Epiglottitis, also termed supraglottitis or epiglottiditis, is an inflammation of structures above the insertion of the glottis and is most often caused by bacterial infection.
The epiglottis is the most common site of swelling. Acute epiglottitis and associated upper airway obstruction has significant morbidity and mortality and may cause respiratory arrest and death. Hib infection of the epiglottis leads to acute onset of inflammatory edema, beginning on the lingual surface of the epiglottis where the submucosa is loosely attached. Swelling significantly reduces the airway aperture.
Treatment in patients with epiglottitis is directed toward relieving the airway obstruction and eradicating the infectious agent.