Skip to main content

Laryngitis, Emergency Medicine

Yi-Mei Chng Reviewed 06/2017



  • Inflammation of the mucosa of the larynx

  • The most common cause is viral upper respiratory infection

  • Peaks parallel epidemics of individual viruses

  • Most common during late fall, winter, ...


Signs and Symptoms


  • Hoarseness

  • Abnormal-sounding voice

  • Throat swelling

  • Throat tickling

  • Feeling of throat rawness

  • Constant urge to clear the throat

  • Cough

  • Fever

  • Malaise

  • Dysphagia

Physical Exam

  • Regio...



Supportive care and ambulance transport are not generally indicated 
  • Stridor can mean obstruction of the laryngeal or tracheal parts of the airway, particularly in children

  • An otol...



Admission Criteria

  • Tuberculous laryngitis:

    • Highly contagious requiring isolation

  • Signs of epiglottitis, respiratory distress, neck trauma, or anaphylaxis

  • Respiratory compromise

Discharge Criteria

Pearls and Pitfalls

  • Most acute laryngitis is of viral origin

    • Antibiotics likely with no benefit

  • Consider life-threatening causes of altered phonation such as epiglottitis

  • Laryngitis not associated with u...

Additional Reading

  • Behrman  RE, Kliegman  R, Jenson  H, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders; 2007.

  • Dworkin  JP. Laryngitis: Types, causes, and treatments. Otola...



  • 464.00 Acute laryngitis without mention of obstruction

  • 464.01 Acute laryngitis with obstruction

  • 476.0 Chronic laryngitis

  • 034.0 Streptococcal sore throat

  • 464.0 Acute laryngitis


  • J04.0 Acute la...

Subscribe to Access Full Content

Sign Up for a 10-Day Free Trial

Sign up for a 10-day FREE Trial now and receive full access to all content.