The Journal of Laryngology & Otology

Clinical Records

Necrotising fasciitis complicating Haemophilus influenzae type b epiglottitis in an adult

C Chalmersa1 c1

a1 Department of Anaesthesia, Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock, Scotland, UK


Objective: To present the first reported case of Haemophilus influenzae type b epiglottitis leading to necrotising fasciitis.

Method: Case report and review of the literature regarding the association of necrotising fasciitis with Haemophilus influenzae infection and with epiglottitis.

Case report: A previously well, 64-year-old woman presented with epiglottitis, and subsequently developed necrotising fasciitis of her chest wall. The cause of both infections was Haemophilus influenzae serotype b. This organism has frequently been implicated in epiglottitis, but has not previously been reported to cause simultaneous necrotising fasciitis. The patient became critically ill, requiring intensive care management, but following surgical debridement and antibiotic treatment she made a full recovery.

Conclusion: Although increasingly uncommon, clinicians must continue to be proficient in the diagnosis and management of epiglottitis, and to be aware of its full range of possible complications. This case report highlights a previously unknown and potentially fatal complication of Haemophilus influenzae type b epiglottitis.

(Accepted August 04 2009)

(Online publication November 23 2009)


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Catriona Chalmers, Department of Anaesthesia, Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock KA2 OBE, Scotland, UK. Fax: 01563 827171 E-mail:


Dr C Chalmers takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper.

Competing interests: None declared