Comparison between Croup, Epiglottitis and Tracheitis

Table 1 presents a comparison between croup, epiglottitis and tracheitis.

Table 1 Comparison between croup, epiglottitis and tracheitis
Croup Epiglottitis Tracheitis
Incidence Common Rare Rare
Age 6 months 3 years 27 years 6 months- 14 years
Aetiology Viral Bacterial Bacterial
Speed of onset Slow Very rapid Rapid
Fever Rarely >39 degrees Normally >39 degrees Normally >39 degrees
Cough Barking Suppressed Present
Voice Hoarse Muffled Hoarse
Position Supine Sitting forward, neck extended Supine
Neck X-Ray AP Steeple sign* Normal Steeple sign*
Neck X-Ray Lateral Normal Thumb print Hazy
Response to adrenaline Very good No response Partial or no response
*Steeple sign: On anteroposterior radiographs of the soft tissue of the neck the lateral convexities of the subglottic trachea are lost and narrowing of the subglottic lumen produces an inverted ‘V’ pattern, resembling a church steeple [45].