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Clinical Note
September 2009

Aryepiglottic Abscess Manifesting as Epiglottitis

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, National Capitol Consortium, Washington, DC (Dr Reed); and Divisions of Otolaryngology (Drs Shah and Choi) and Infectious Diseases (Dr Jantausch), Children's National Medical Center, George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2009;135(9):953-955. doi:10.1001/archotol.127.12.1495

Acute epiglottitis is an exceedingly rare, potentially deadly disease. Since the introduction of the Haemophilusinfluenzae type B (HiB) vaccine in the mid-1980s, its incidence has decreased dramatically. With the decrease in the incidence of epiglottitis attributed to HiB came a relative increase in epiglottits caused by other pathogens. These atypical pathogens often present in an atypical manner, confusing the clinical picture and often delaying diagnosis and treatment. As the immunized portion of the population increases, atypical non-HiB epiglottis will become the rule rather than the exception. Successful management of this disease poses a particularly difficult challenge to physicians who have been trained in the post-HiB era, in which epiglottitis is both rare and deceptive in presentation.