Objectives: Our objective was to examine the presentation, clinical course and management of acute epiglottitis in a recent series of adult patients.
Method: All consecutive adults with acute epiglottitis or supraglottitis admitted to a tertiary referral centre over a recent six-month period were included in this retrospective study. The diagnosis of epiglottitis or supraglottitis was established by flexible nasolaryngoscopy.
Results: Ten patients were included. Two patients had concurrent acute tonsillitis and one had a peritonsillar abscess. Blood cultures were negative in all cases. Pathogens were isolated by throat swabs only in the two patients with acute tonsillitis. Two patients underwent intubation for management of airway obstruction. A combination of cefotaxime and metronidazole was the most common antibiotic regimen used.
Conclusion: The rising incidence of acute epiglottitis in the adult population mandates vigilance on the part of the otolaryngologist. Selective airway intervention is recommended for patients with airway obstruction of more than 50 per cent.