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J Otolaryngol. 1995 Aug;24(4):255-7.

Unilateral supraglottitis in adults: fact or fiction.

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Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill 27599-7070, USA.


Supraglottitis and epiglottitis have been described for many years by various authors. Haemophilus influenzae type b is the primary cause of childhood epiglottitis, which classically appears between the ages of 2 and 4 years. Onset is usually acute and the presentation can be dramatic with drooling, high temperatures, and stridor. Compared to childhood supraglottitis, adult supraglottitis usually pursues a more indolent course with no significant airway compromise and no identifiable pathogen. Rarely, adult supraglottitis can resemble its childhood counterpart with acute respiratory compromise secondary to H. influenzae infection. Although most incidences of adult supraglottitis are infectious in origin and involve the entire supraglottitis and epiglottis, we present two cases of unilateral supraglottitis caused by inhalation of a hot wire screen used as a filter for smoking crack cocaine.

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