Larynx, hypopharynx & trachea

Inflammatory / infectious lesions

Laryngitis / laryngoepiglottitis

Last author update: 1 November 2013
Last staff update: 10 March 2023

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PubMed Search: Laryngitis / laryngoepiglottitis

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N. Laryngitis / laryngoepiglottitis. website. Accessed September 26th, 2023.
Definition / general
Acute laryngoepiglottitis
  • Also called acute supraglottitis
  • Rare; due to Haemophilus influenza type B or Streptococcus pyogenes; reduced incidence due to childhood vaccine for H. influenza
  • May produce sudden lethal swelling of epiglottis and vocal cords
  • Croup: laryngotracheobronchitis in children; inflammatory narrowing produces inspiratory stridor

Chronic (nonspecific) laryngitis
  • Commonly due to upper respiratory tract infection, overuse of voice, heavy exposure to tobacco smoke or alcohol

  • Common cause of fungal laryngitis in U.S. (also blastomycosis)
  • Early lesions are in vocal cords and epiglottis
  • Granulomatous lesion involving anterior larynx is likely to be histoplasmosis
Case reports
Chronic (nonspecific) laryngitis
Gross description
Acute laryngoepiglottitis
  • Red and edematous epiglottis
Microscopic (histologic) description
Acute laryngoepiglottitis
  • Acute inflammatory infiltrate with edema, extending to adjacent soft tissues

Chronic (nonspecific) laryngitis
  • Lymphocytic infiltrate with variable plasma cells and histiocytes
  • Variable epithelial hyperplasia
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Acute laryngoepiglottitis: H. influenza (site unknown)

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