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Ludwig’s angina

  • Alternative Names

    Submandibular space infection; Sublingual space infection


    If the swelling blocks the airway, emergency medical help is needed to maintain an open airway. This may involve placing a breathing tube through the mouth or nose and into the lungs, or surgery called a tracheostomy that creates an opening through the neck into the windpipe.

    Antibiotics, usually penicillin or a penicillin-like medication, are given to fight the infection. They are usually given through a vein until symptoms go away. Antibiotics taken by mouth may be continued until tests show that the bacteria have gone away.

    Dental treatment may be needed for tooth infections that cause Ludwig's angina.

    Surgery may be needed to drain fluids that are causing the swelling.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Ludwig's angina can be life threatening. However, it can be cured with proper protection of the airways and appropriate antibiotics.

    • Airway blockage
    • Generalized infection (sepsis)
    • Septic shock

    Calling your health care provider

    Breathing difficulty is an emergency situation. Immediately go to the emergency room or call your local emergency number (such as 911).

    Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of this condition, or if symptoms do not improve after treatment.