The medical term for the epiglottis is epiglottis. The epiglottis is a cartilaginous closure device that is covered with mucous membrane. During the act of swallowing, it closes the windpipe and directs food and liquids into the esophagus. The epiglottis lies directly above the larynx and functions like a lid here.


The epiglottis consists made of elastic cartilage and its shape is reminiscent of a racing bike saddle. The tip of the epiglottis is connected to the thyroid cartilage with a small ligament (thyroepiglottic ligament). The ligament is anchored to the inner surface in the center of the thyroid cartilage. The epiglottis is connected to the front and top via a ligament (hyoepiglottic ligament) with the hyoid bone (os hyoideum). The epiglottis ends laterally into the aryepiglottic folds. In front of the epiglottis, i.e. in the direction of the chin, lies a large body of fat (corpus adiposum preepiglotticum). During the act of swallowing, this helps to push the epiglottis backwards. By pushing away The epiglottis then lies over the entrance to the larynx.
The cartilage plate of the epiglottis has many holes on the sides. These holes contain glands that release mucus. The mucus serves, among other things, that Food can slide more easily over the epiglottis. Due to the elevation in the middle and the bulges on the sides, the food slides in the bulges on the sides over the epiglottis and directly into the esophagus.

The epiglottis is connected to the arterial, i.e. oxygen-rich blood, by the Superior thyroid artery which originates from the external carotid artery. The arteria thyroidea superior in turn gives the Superior laryngeal artery which pulls to the epiglottis and supplies it with oxygen-rich blood. The venous outflow of blood runs through the Superior laryngeal vein and then into the jugular vein.

The epiglottis is both sensitively innervated, so you can feel pain and touch, but also perceives taste. The sensitive innervation is from the Vagus nerve (10th cranial nerve) and glossopharyngeal nerve (9th cranial nerve). The vagus nerve supplies the lower part of the epiglottis and the glossopharyngeal nerve supplies the upper part. In addition to the sensitive innervation, part of the epiglottis has taste perception. This is also conducted by the vagus nerve.


The main function of the epiglottis is to to close the larynx. With each swallow, the epiglottis is placed over the opening of the windpipe and This prevents food or liquids from entering the windpipe. Here the larynx is pulled up using muscles. The fat body above the larynx and in front of the epiglottis is pushed backwards. The fat body in turn presses the epiglottis backwards and onto the thyroid cartilage. The chyme can then flow over the epiglottis and into the esophagus. Another function of the epiglottis is that Sense of taste. The proportion of taste perception cannot be compared with that of the tongue, but it is there.


The epiglottis is in medical terminology Epiglottitis called. The majority of epiglottis is due to a bacterial infection. The bacterium Haemophilus influenzae type b is the causative agent in almost all cases. By a Vaccination against Haemophilus influenzae type b you can prevent infection and thus epiglottitis. Vaccination is now a standard procedure for children, which is why the epiglottis is infected increasingly among the unvaccinated or the elderly occurs. More rarely, non-bacterial inflammation of the epiglottis can occur. Particularly specific occupational groups carry a high risk here. Frequent exposure to chemical fumes or fine dust increases the risk of chronic epiglottitis.

The symptoms are varied and can be life-threatening. Most of the time, the symptoms appear very suddenly and can manifest within a few hours. Are typical Sore throat and swallowing pain, Shortness of breath, fever, a reduced general condition and a changed voice. Often an inspiratory stridor is also used Whistling on inhalationdescribed. In most cases, there is no cough. Because of the swelling of the epiglottis, the airway can be obstructed, causing shortness of breath. If you are short of breath, it is necessary to go to a hospital as it is an emergency. In the worst case scenario, suffocation can occur.

Epiglottis pain

It is often found difficult to pinpoint epiglottis pain. Often those affected have Pain when swallowing. Also Larynx pain when speaking can occur. In most cases, the pain is epiglottitis or epiglottitis. In most cases, this occurs in connection with shortness of breath. In addition to bacterial epiglottitis, non-bacterial epiglottitis can also be the cause of the pain. Furthermore, swallowing difficulties and pain in the epiglottis can occur Diphtheria Clues. With diphtheria, however, there are a few other symptoms (Coating on the wall of the pharynx, severely swollen lymph nodes on the neck, barking cough) which are very characteristic.Painful swelling of the epiglottis can also occur Chemical burns and burns of the throat occur. This leads to severe swelling of the mucous membrane, which can be life-threatening.