A patient with acute epiglottitis can die from acute airway obstruction with asphyxiation.

The usual patient is an infant or young child, but acute epiglottitis can occur at any age.


Bacterial pathogens include: Hemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus species, Streptococcus pneumniae, Candida albicans, Pasteurella multocida, Gram negative bacteria


Risk factors for epiglottitis:

(1) failure to immunize

(2) diabetes mellitus

(3) immunosuppression


The airway obstruction can occur suddenly. Sudden death can occur if an airway cannot be established.


Risk factors for death:

(1) delay in seeking medical care

(2) fulminant infection

(3) failure to examine the epiglottis or to perform imaging studies

(4) failure to monitor for respiratory obstruction

(5) failure in establishing an emergency airway

(6) sedation or coma

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