CASE REPORTS
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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An upper airway obstruction emergency: Ludwig angina.

Ludwig angina remains a potentially lethal disease, rapidly spreading bilateral cellulitis of the submental, sublingual, and submandibular spaces, which bears the threat for rapid airway obstruction. Since the introduction of antibiotics in 1940s, the mortality was reduced significantly. This resulted in the rare occurrence of the disease, leaving many physicians with limited experience of Ludwig angina. Although the occurrence of Ludwig angina in adults is rare, its presence in the pediatric edentulous population is even more uncommon. Because the unfamiliarity with this disease is now increasing, unnecessary delaying diagnosis or inadequate management may occur and may result in serious complications. This presentation will consist of a historical review, discussion of pathophysiology, followed by clinical presentation, etiology, bacteriology, and management. With early diagnosis, airway observation and management, aggressive intravenous antibiotic therapy, and judicious surgical intervention, the disease should resolve without complications. In addition, the source of infection should be determined and eliminated if possible. A thoughtful, individualized management strategy seems to be the most reasonable approach to the disease.

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