Influenzal Laryngotracheobronchitis

Sources: A Manual Of Peroral Endoscopy And Laryngeal Surgery

Influenzal infection, not

always by the same organism, sweeps over the population, attacking the

air passages in a violent and quite characteristic way. Bronchoscopy

shows the influenzal infection to be characterized by intense

reddening and swelling of the mucosa. In some cases the swelling is so

great as to necessitate tracheotomy, or intubation of the larynx; and

if the edema involve the bronchi, occlusion may be fatal. Hemorrhagic

spots and superficial erosions are commonly seen, and a thick,

tenacious exudate, difficult of expectoration, lies in patches in the

trachea. Infants may asphyxiate from accumulation of this secretion

which they are unable to expel. The differential diagnosis from

diphtheria is sometimes difficult. The absence of true membrane and

the failure to find diphtheria bacilli in smears taken from the

trachea are of aid but are not infallible. In doubtful cases, the

administration of diphtheria antitoxin is a wise precaution pending

the establishment of a definite diagnosis. The pseudomembrane

sometimes present in influenzal tracheobronchitis is thinner and less

pulpy than that of the earlier stages of diphtheria. The casts of the

later stages do not occur in influenzal tracheobronchitis

(Bibliography I, p. 480).