Bacterial Tracheitis


Epiglottitis? Think Tracheitis too!

• Considered bacterial tracheitis in a patient who has fever, stridor, and symptoms that does not respond to therapy for croup (racemic epinephrine and steroids).
• Additionally, that toxic appearing child that you think looks like the textbook picture of epiglottitis, may actually have bacterial tracheitis.

• The epidemiology of acute infectious upper airway disease in pediatrics has been altered with immunization against Haemophilus influenza-b and the widespread use of corticosteroids for the treatment of viral croup.
Bacterial tracheitis has replaced epiglottitis and croup as the most common cause of acute respiratory failure.  One study found it to be 3 times more likely to cause respiratory failure than croup and epiglotittis combined.
• The mortality rates had been reported as high as 18% to 40%.

Hopkins, A., et al., Changing epidemiology of life-threatening upper airway infections: the reemergence of bacterial tracheitis. Pediatrics, 2006. 118(4): p. 1418-21


Sean M. Fox
Sean M. Fox
Articles: 583


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