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Evidence-Based Evaluation And Management Of Patients With Pharyngitis In The Emergency Department

September 2015

Abstract

Pharyngitis is a common presentation, but it can also be associated with life-threatening processes, including sepsis and airway compromise. Other conditions, such as thyroid disease and cardiac disease, may mimic pharyngitis. The emergency clinician must sort through the broad differential for this complaint using a systematic approach that protects against early closure of the diagnosis. This issue reviews the various international guidelines for pharyngitis and notes controversies in diagnostic and treatment strategies, specifically for management of suspected bacterial, viral, and fungal etiology. A management algorithm is presented, with recommendations based on a review of the best available evidence, taking into account patient comfort and outcomes, the need to reduce bacterial resistance, and costs.

Key words: pharyngitis, tonsillitis, sore throat, strep throat, supraglottitis, pharyngeal abscess, tonsillar abscess, quinsy, odynophagia, Lemierre syndrome, uvulitis, rheumatic fever group A hemolytic Streptococcus, GABHS, RADT, rapid antigen detection test, Fusobacterium, Centor criteria, antibiotics

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