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Laryngeal tuberculosis: a rare cause of critical airway obstruction
  1. Abigail Elizabeth Cole1,
  2. Daniel Heaton2,
  3. Ahmed Chekairi1
  1. 1Department of Anaesthetics, Whittington Health NHS Trust, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Anaesthetics, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Abigail Elizabeth Cole, acole{at}


Laryngeal tuberculosis (TB) is a rare condition, occurring in less than 1% of patients infected with pulmonary TB. We present a case of a 57-year-old male patient, who presented in extremis with audible stridor, increased work of breathing and cyanosis. In addition, the patient had a complex medical history, including a recent diagnosis of congenital malformation of the epiglottis. Emergency intervention was required to secure the airway, and after initial attempts at intubation were unsuccessful, an emergency tracheostomy was performed. Four days after initial presentation, his sputum tested positive for acid-fast bacilli, and a subsequent CT chest revealed pulmonary as well as laryngeal TB, which was confirmed on biopsy of the larynx. The patient was commenced on a 24-week course of anti-tuberculous treatment and was successfully decannulated 6 months after the emergency airway was established.

  • anaesthesia
  • ear, nose and throat/otolaryngology
  • tb and other respiratory infections
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  • Contributors AEC and DH made substantial contributions to the conception and design of the work. AEC acquired relevant details regarding the case, while DH reviewed current literature. AEC drafted the work and revised it as appropriate. Final approval of the version published was checked by DH and AC. Agreement from all authors has been sought in order to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

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

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