Rapid Review: Epiglottitis

April 18, 2018
Reviewed By: Amy Rontal


  • Patient will be complaining of rapid onset of fever and dysphagia
  • PE will show the patient leaning forward, drooling, inspiratory stridor
  • Imaging will show “thumbprint” sign
  • Most commonly caused by H. influenzaeStreptococcus
  • Treatment is IV antibiotics and airway management

Sample question:

A 5-year-old boy presents to the emergency department because of difficulty breathing that began a few hours prior to consult. The caretaker reports that he was apparently well until he developed a fever and sore throat yesterday. He has no cough. On examination he is noted to be flushed, maintaining a sitting position with his neck hyperextended and arms braced forward. He is also febrile and has low-pitched inspiratory stridor. Which of the following was the most common etiologic agent responsible for the boy’s disease in the pre-vaccination era?

By Yehuda Wolf, MPA, PA-C

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