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Epiglottitis as it presents now

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 10 July 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4334
  1. Isobel Fitzgerald O’Connor, specialist registrar,
  2. Chris Burgess, specialist registrar,
  3. Robert Almeyda, consultant
  1. 1Oxford University Hospitals—Ear, Nose, and Throat Department, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK
  1. ifoconnor{at}

An 85 year old woman with mild dementia presented to the emergency department with a 36 hour history of sore throat and difficulty in swallowing. Initially, there was some concern that she had swallowed a foreign body, so a lateral radiograph of the soft tissue was arranged and a “thumb sign” identified. Visualisation of a swollen epiglottis with flexible nasendoscopy confirmed the diagnosis of acute epiglottitis. Since the introduction of routine vaccination against Haemophilus influenzae type B, the incidence of acute epiglottitis in children has reduced considerably, with most cases now occurring in older adults.


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4334


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