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Epiglottitis, Pediatric, Emergency Medicine

Beverly Bauman Reviewed 06/2017



  • Inflammation of the epiglottis and surrounding supraglottic region, which is potentially life threatening due to progressive airway obstruction

  • Children are at greater risk of upper ...


Signs and Symptoms


  • Usually fulminant presentation without prodromal illness

  • General:

    • Irritability, throat pain (often described as patient's worse sore throat), fever, noisy breathing

    • Pro...



Degree and mode of intervention must reflect degree of obstruction, time and means of transport, capability of care providers, etc. Consult and notify receiving hospital. 

Initial Stabilization/Therapy



Admission Criteria

Patients with suspected or proven epiglottitis should be admitted to ICU after stabilization of airway and administration of antibiotics and fluids. 

Discharge Criteria

Pearls and Pitfalls

True airway emergency. Patient must be monitored and accompanied at all times by someone with airway stabilization capabilities. 

Additional Reading

  • American Academy of Pediatrics. Red Book: 2012 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. 29th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: AAP; 2012.

  • Faden  H. The dramatic change in the epide...



  • 464.3 Acute epiglottitis

  • 464.30 Acute epiglottitis without mention of obstruction

  • 464.31 Acute epiglottitis with obstruction


  • J05.1 Acute epiglottitis

  • J05.10 Acute epiglottitis without obstr...

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