(Received 3 August 1978; accepted 4 October 1978)
Published Online: 1979
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Acute inflammation and edema of the epiglottis is a catastrophic illness, often leading to a sudden and unexpected asphyxia. Many victims die too quickly for medical attention or receive improper medical assistance. This report presents seven cases of fatal epiglottitis from a coroner's autopsy service (Table 1). None of the victims had been hospitalized. Six victims had sought medical assistance. The cases stress the fulminant course and the difficult diagnosis of acute epiglottitis. Accurate records on the incidence of acute epiglottitis may be supplemented by coroner-medical examiners' investigations. Failure to examine the epiglottis during the postmortem examination may disguise the true incidence of this disease.
Chief coroner-medical examiner, Jefferson County, Birmingham, Ala.
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