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Adult epiglottitis: 6 years experience in a university teaching hospital in Hong Kong

Cheung, Clement S.K., Man, Shin-Yan, Graham, Colin A., Mak, Paulina S.K., Cheung, Phoebe S.Y., Chan, Bob C.Y. and Rainer, Timothy Hudson 2009. Adult epiglottitis: 6 years experience in a university teaching hospital in Hong Kong. European Journal of Emergency Medicine 16 (4) , pp. 221-226. 10.1097/MEJ.0b013e328320ad2f

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Adult epiglottitis is a relatively rare but potentially lethal disease. It seems to be increasing in incidence in other countries. The objective of this study was to examine the common presentations and clinical course of adult epiglottitis in Hong Kong. Retrospective review of 80 consecutive cases of adult epiglottitis admitted between 2000 and 2005. A rising trend in the incidence of adult epiglottitis was observed. The mean age (SD) was 49 years (15.7) and the male-to-female ratio was 2.5 : 1. Disease presentation was nonspecific and sore throat was the most common symptom. All patients were admitted to hospital; 47 (59%) patients were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) and 31 (39%) had provision of an artificial airway. Mean (SD) length of stay in ICU and hospital was 1.9 (2.2) and 6.3 (2.9) days, respectively. Six patients (7.5%) were complicated by epiglottic abscess formation. No deaths occurred in this series. Patients who required airway intervention had a higher ICU admission rate and a higher bacterial identification rate. Flexible laryngoscopy was more sensitive than lateral neck radiography in diagnosing epiglottitis (100 vs. 81.4%). The laryngoscopic finding of a narrowed airway was strongly related to the requirement for airway intervention (odds ratio=23.7, 95% confidence interval=4.2-132.6, P<0.001). A high index of suspicion is required for making the diagnosis of adult epiglottitis. Proper airway assessment and close monitoring are of the utmost importance in patient management. Flexible laryngoscopy is the key investigation of choice in the emergency department.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: adult epiglottitis; diagnosis; emergency department; flexible laryngoscopy
Publisher: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
ISSN: 0969-9546
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 09:15

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