What are the clinical findings in pharyngeal diphtheria?

Updated: Jan 18, 2019
  • Author: Bruce M Lo, MD, MBA, CPE, RDMS, FACEP, FAAEM, FACHE; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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Answer

Pharyngeal diphtheria:

  • Patients may present with general symptoms of fever, halitosis, tachycardia, and anxiety.

  • Tonsils and pharynx: Pharyngeal erythema and edema, thick, gray, leathery membrane variably covers the tonsils, soft palate, oropharynx, nasopharynx, and uvula. Attempts at scraping the pseudomembrane causes bleeding of the underlying mucosa.

  • Neck: Extensive anterior and submandibular cervical lymphadenopathy imparts a bull's neck appearance. The patient may hold his or her head in extension. It can occasionally also be associated with dysphonia.

  • Respiratory distress manifesting as stridor, wheezing, cyanosis, accessory muscle use, and retractions.


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