The Symptoms of Oedema Of The Glottis

Hoarseness, rapidly increasing until the voice is lost; harsh, barking cough; inspiration laborious, long-drawn, and whistling; expiration short, easy, and generally inaudible, though sometimes noisy; patient complains of "something in the throat; " other symptoms similar to those of croup.

This is a condition in which the tissues about the epiglottis and upper part of the larynx become the seat of a watery swelling similar to that which often affects the feet, ankles, and lower eyelids. If the finger is passed into the throat, two hard swellings, sometimes as large as a pigeon's egg, may be felt at the root of the tongue; and when the patient attempts to fill the lungs, these swellings are drawn together, and close the opening at the top of the larynx so that inspiration be comes extremely difficult. They may sometimes be seen by making the patient open the mouth widely and pressing the tongue. The disease occurs most commonly in adults, in which respect it differs from croup, which is most frequent in children. The principal exciting causes are acute catarrh, laryngitis, erysipelas of the face, and occasionally small-pox, consumption of the throat, and Brights disease.

The Treatment of Oedema Of The Glottis

The old prescription for this disease reads about like this: "blood-letting, leeches in large numbers to the throat, emetics, cathartics, etc.;" but we believe with Niemeyer that such treatment is worse than useless in this disease, as well as in croup. According to the learned authority quoted, the local application of ice is of far more value than any of the remedies mentioned. Indeed, we believe this to be by far the best remedy for this disease. The patient should be instructed to hold small pieces of ice in the back part of the mouth, frequently swallowing a small piece. Ice may also be applied externally. We prefer for external application, however, alternate hot and cold applications made with a sponge and a piece of ice. The sponge should be dipped in hot water, slightly pressed, and applied to the throat as hot as the patient can bear, and held in position for a few minutes. It should be followed by rubbing the throat with ice for two or three minutes. This treatment should be used in conjunction with ice internally.

If there is rattling in the throat, and evidence of the presence of considerable mucus, the patient should drink freely of warm water. If possible, enough should be taken to produce nausea and vomiting, as the effort will frequently relieve the embarrassment of breathing. In case other measures fail, a surgeon should be called in to puncture the swollen parts, which will give very speedy relief.