A retrospective case study of laryngeal edema causing airway obstruction immediately post COVID-19 vaccination


  • Kribananthan Lohanadan Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Hospital Queen Elizabeth Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
  • Ahmad N. A. Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Hospital Queen Elizabeth Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
  • Avinash C. Department of Occupational health and safety, Hospital Queen Elizabeth Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia




Laryngealedema, Vaccination, Sabah, COVID-19


Background: Laryngeal edema is defined as abnormal accumulation of fluid and swelling in the tissues of the larynx commonly associated with laryngeal injuries and allergic causes. The objective of this study is for the prompt recognition and management of laryngeal edema caused by an anaphylaxis reaction after receiving the COVID-19 vaccination from Pfizer-BioNTech, which is extremely important in view of its high morbidity and mortality rate.

Methods: A retrospective case reviews was conducted for all health care workers in Sabah who were administered COVID-19 vaccination from Pfizer-BioNTech from February 2021-April 2021.

Results: The mean age of study population in present study was found to be 33 years. Total of 42 patients were admitted during the period of 6 weeks out of 5000 health care workers who were vaccinated. Females constituted 64.3% of the study population while males constituted 35.7%. The clinical signs of laryngeal edema were dysphagia; the sensation of a lump in the throat; a feeling of tightness in the throat; voice changes, including hoarseness and roughness; and dyspnea within the period of 3 to 5 minutes post Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination. All patients received appropriate management using standard guidelines.

Conclusions: The administration of the COVID-19 vaccination from Pfizer-BioNTech is life-threatening, however, its identification may aid in prompt emergency management in the future. Referral to an otorhinolaryngologist is necessary for patients who experience immediate or severe reactions.

Author Biography

Kribananthan Lohanadan, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Hospital Queen Elizabeth Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Department of Otorhinolaryngology,Hospital Queen Elizabeth Kota Kinabalu Sabah


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Original Research Articles