Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Epiglottitis Anatomy

To better understand epiglottitis, it helps to understand the anatomy of the upper airway and larynx.

The larynx is the upper part of the airway, above the trachea. The larynx contains the vocal chords, and muscles that control the vocal chords. The epiglottis is a flap of tissue that covers the entrance to the larynx during swallowing. The core of the epiglottis is made of cartilage.

Larynx examples:

  • Rear view of the larynx
  • View of the epiglottis and x-ray of enlarged epiglottis
  • Normal pharynx in an adult
  • Normal pharynx and epiglottis in a child

Last Updated: Nov 3, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Epiglottitis References
  1. Hickerson SL, Kirby RS, Wheeler JG, Schutze GE. Epiglottitis: a 9-year case review. South Med J. 1996 May;89(5):487-90. [8638174]
  2. Nakamura H, Tanaka H, Matsuda A, Fukushima E, Hasegawa M. Acute epiglottitis: a review of 80 patients. J Laryngol Otol. 2001 Jan;115(1):31-4. [11233618]
  3. Sack JL, Brock CD. Identifying acute epiglottitis in adults. High degree of awareness, close monitoring are key. Postgrad Med. 2002 Jul;112(1):81-2, 85-6. [12146095]
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