Laryngeal thrush

  • Sulica L
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Superficial fungal infection of the mucous membranes (thrush) isolated to the larynx is neither widely reported nor well recognized clinically. Therefore, it is often associated with ineffective treatment and delay in diagnosis, and sometimes associated with unneeded surgical intervention. Eight cases of thrush isolated to the larynx, with no oral or oropharyngeal manifestations, are presented. Four of these were isolated to the vocal folds alone. All patients were adults, and 4 were smokers. Hoarseness was always present. Pain was present inconsistently, and there was no dysphagia or odynophagia, in contrast to other forms of upper aerodigestive tract candidiasis. On average, diagnosis was not made until 6 months after the onset of symptoms. Possible causative factors included use of systemic steroids (3 cases), broad-spectrum antibiotics (1 case), or inhaled steroids (5 cases); diabetes (2 cases); and neutropenia (1 case). In 3 cases, all with thrush isolated to the vocal folds, inhaled steroids were the only causative factor identifiable - a feature reported only twice previously. Three patients underwent surgical procedures that might have been avoided had an accurate diagnosis been made. All patients responded readily to oral fluconazole and removal of predisposing factors where possible. The signs, symptoms, predisposing factors, and treatment are compared to those of 14 cases reported in the literature over 35 years.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Candida
  • Fluticasone
  • Larynx
  • Steroid inhaler
  • Thrush
  • Vocal fold

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