What is the prognosis of epiglottitis?

Updated: Apr 28, 2020
  • Author: Sandra G Gompf, MD, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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The prognosis in adults with acute epiglottitis is good with appropriate and timely treatment. Most patients can be extubated within several days. However, unrecognized epiglottitis may rapidly lead to airway compromise and resultant death.

In spite of acute epiglottitis generally having a good prognosis, the risk of death for persons is high due to sudden airway obstruction and difficulty intubating patients with extensive swelling of supraglottic structures. Reported cases do include sudden fatal cardiorespiratory arrest occurring in patients without previous evidence of respiratory obstruction while in an intensive care unit (ICU) setting, emphasizing the importance of providing close monitoring and adequate airway protection in these patients. The adult mortality rate is around 7%.

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