Article Text

Multidisciplinary approach to the management of a case of classical respiratory diphtheria requiring percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy feeding
  1. Matthew James Haywood1,
  2. Ananth Vijendren1,
  3. Vikas Acharya1,
  4. Rohinton Mulla2,
  5. Miss Jaan Panesar1
  1. 1Department of ENT, Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, Luton, UK
  2. 2Department of Microbiology, Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, Luton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Matthew James Haywood, matthewhaywood0{at}


We present a case of a Caucasian woman aged 67 years referred with a 4-day history of sore throat, dysphagia, fever and nasal blockage. Examination revealed a swollen neck and pharyngeal pseudomembrane. A throat swab was positive on culture for Corynebacterium ulcerans, with toxin expression confirmed on PCR and Elek testing. A diagnosis of classical respiratory diphtheria was made, with subsequent confirmation of the patient's domesticated dog as the source of infection. The dog had recently been attacked by a wild badger and was being treated for an ear infection. The patient made a good recovery with intravenous antimicrobial and supportive therapy; however, she subsequently developed a diphtheritic polyneuropathy in the form of a severe bulbar palsy with frank aspiration necessitating percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy feeding. A mild sensorimotor peripheral neuropathy was also diagnosed. The patient eventually made an almost complete recovery.

Statistics from


  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.