The urgent concern on initial evaluation of a patient with Ludwig’s angina is the potential for rapid and complete obstruction of the airway. Many experienced physicians will place a breathing tube into the patient’s trachea
(intubate) if there is any degree of tongue displacement, stridor, or subjective complaints of respiratory distress.
This course allows the placement of the breathing tube to be done on a more planned basis (e.g., with availability of any special equipment needed like a fiberoptic bronchoscope) by an experienced airway professional (preferably an anesthesiologist). It is hoped that this strategy will eliminate the possibility of a later, truly emergent tracheostomy (surgical airway).