A case report of acute epiglottitis in adults

A case report of acute epiglottitis in adults


  • Mohammad Sajjad Ghaderi Student Research Committee, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
  • Reza Akhavan Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
  • Seyed Reza Habibzadeh Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
  • Roohie Farzaneh 2 Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.
  • Mahdi Foroughian Department of Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical sciences, Mashhad, Iran.


Acute epiglottitis, Dyspnea, Adults


Introduction: Epiglottitis is actually an acute infectious disease leading to a life-threatening airway obstruction. Adult epiglottitis, while rare, necessitates heightened clinical awareness due to its potential for rapid deterioration. In this report, we present a case of adult epiglottitis.

Case presentation:

A 60-year-old man, with a history of diabetes, hypertension, and smoking, presented to the emergency department with a 4-day intense sore throat, dyspnea, and dysphagia. Despite being initially triaged as level 5, an emergency medicine specialist observed him due to symptoms like sialorrhea, fever, and odynophagia. Clinical examination revealed edema, erythema, and submental lymphadenopathy. The emergency physician noted the patient's calm demeanor with no signs of stridor or upper airway obstruction. Requested X-ray confirmed epiglottitis with a characteristic 'thumbprint' sign. The patient's condition rapidly deteriorated, leading to loss of consciousness, prompting an emergency tracheostomy, and subsequent care in the ICU.

Conclusion: The presented case shows the critical importance of astute clinical observation in the emergency department. Swift confirmation through X-ray facilitated appropriate interventions, including emergency tracheostomy, leading to stabilization in the ICU.


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How to Cite

Ghaderi, M. S., Akhavan, R., Habibzadeh, S. R., Farzaneh, R., & Foroughian, M. (2023). A case report of acute epiglottitis in adults. Updates in Emergency Medicine, 3(1). Retrieved from http://uiemjournal.com/index.php/main/article/view/55

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