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Laryngeal tuberculosis: a rare cause of critical airway obstruction


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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