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PLoS One. 2018 Jun 11;13(6):e0199036. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0199036. eCollection 2018.

Risk of acute epiglottitis in patients with preexisting diabetes mellitus: A population-based case-control study.

Tsai YT1,2, Huang EI1,2, Chang GH1,2, Tsai MS1,2, Hsu CM1,2, Yang YH3,4,5, Lin MH6, Liu CY6, Li HY7.

Author information

Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chiayi, Taiwan.
College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan.
Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chiayi, Taiwan.
Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, National Taiwan University College of Public Health, Taipei, Taiwan.
School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan.
Health Information and Epidemiology Laboratory, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chiayi, Taiwan.
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan, Taiwan.



Studies have revealed that 3.5%-26.6% of patients with epiglottitis have comorbid diabetes mellitus (DM). However, whether preexisting DM is a risk factor for acute epiglottitis remains unclear. In this study, our aim was to explore the relationship between preexisting DM and acute epiglottitis in different age and sex groups by using population-based data in Taiwan.


We analyzed data between January 2000 and December 2013 obtained from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. The case group consisted of 2,393 patients with acute epiglottitis. The control group comprised 9,572 individuals without epiglottitis, frequency matched by sex, age, urbanization level, and income. Underlying DM was retrospectively assessed in the cases and controls. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to investigate the associations between underlying DM and acute epiglottitis.


Of the 2,393 patients, 180 (7.5%) had preexisting DM, whereas only 530 (5.5%) of the 9,572 controls had preexisting DM. Multivariate logistic regression analyses indicated that preexisting DM was significantly associated with acute epiglottitis (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.42, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.15-1.75, P = 0.004). Subgroup analysis showed that the association between DM and epiglottitis remained significant for men (aOR = 1.57, 95% CI: 1.19-2.08, p = 0.002) but not for women. Age-stratified analysis revealed a significant association between DM and acute epiglottitis in patients aged 35-64 years. Use of anti-diabetic agents was not significantly associated with the development of acute epiglottitis among diabetic patients, including oral hypoglycemic agents (OHA) alone (aOR = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.53-1.46, p = 0.616), and OHA combined with insulin/ insulin alone (aOR = 1.30, 95% CI = 0.76-2.22, p = 0.339). The association between presence of diabetes complications and the occurrence of acute epiglottitis was also not significant among diabetic patients in this study setting (aOR = 0.86, 95% CI = 0.59-1.26, p = 0.439).


The results of our large-scale population-based case-control study indicate that preexisting DM is one of the possible factors associated with the development of acute epiglottitis. Physicians should pay attention to the symptoms and signs of acute epiglottitis in DM patients, particularly in men aged 35-64 years.

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