Infobox Anatomy
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Caption = Laryngoscopic view of interior of larynx

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The epiglottis is a lid-like flap of elastic cartilage tissue covered with a mucous membrane, attached to the root of the tongue. It projects obliquely upwards behind the tongue and the hyoid bone. It is often incorrectly used to refer to the uvula [http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/45548,features,someones-been-careless-with-my-eplglottis]

Anatomy and function

The epiglottis guards the entrance of the glottis, the opening between the vocal folds.

It is normally pointed upward, but during swallowing, elevation of the hyoid bone draws the larynx upward; as a result, the epiglottis folds down to a more horizontal position. In this manner it prevents food from going into the trachea and instead directs it to the esophagus, which is more posterior.

The epiglottis is one of nine cartilaginous structures that make up the larynx (voice box).

Clinical significance


The glossopharyngeal nerve (CN IX) sends fibers to the upper epiglottis that contribute to the afferent limb of the gag reflex. The superior laryngeal branch of the vagus nerve (CN X) sends fibers to the lower epiglottis that contribute to the afferent limb of the cough reflex. [April, Ernest. Clinical Anatomy, 3rd ed. Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins. ]

Infection of the epiglottis

In children, the epiglottis will occasionally become infected with "Haemophilus influenzae" or "Streptocoche" in the trachea, causing massive inflammation. This condition has become rare in countries where vaccination against "Haemophilus influenzae" (Hib) is administered.


Reference sites

External links

*NormanAnatomy|lesson11 (NormanAnatomyFig|larynxsagsect)

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • epiglottis — 1520s, from L.L. epiglottis, from Gk. epiglottis, lit. (that which is) upon the tongue, from epi on (see EPI (Cf. epi )) + glottis, from glotta, variant of glossa tongue (see GLOSS (Cf. gloss) (n.2 …   Etymology dictionary

  • Epiglottis — Die Epiglottis (deutsch: Kehldeckel) ist eine Verschlusseinrichtung am Kehlkopfeingang der Säugetiere. Beim Schluckakt wird der Kehldeckel passiv gegen den Kehlkopfeingang gedrückt und verschließt diesen unvollständig. Der Kehldeckel wird vom… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • epiglottis — [ep΄ə glät′is] n. [ModL < Gr epiglōttis: see EPI & GLOTTIS] the thin, triangular, lidlike piece of cartilage that folds back over the opening of the windpipe during swallowing, thus preventing food, etc. from entering the lungs: see PHARYNX… …   English World dictionary

  • Epiglottis — Ep i*glot tis, n. [NL., fr. Gr. ?; epi upon + ?, ?, tongue. See {Glottis}.] (Anat.) A cartilaginous lidlike appendage which closes the glottis while food or drink is passing while food or drink is passing through the pharynx. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Epiglottis — (gr., Anat.), Kehldeckel zum Verschluß des Kehlkopfs. Daher Epiglottītis, Kehldeckelentzündung …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Epiglottis — (griech.), Kehldeckel, s. Kehlkopf …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Epiglóttis — (grch.), Kehldeckel zum Verschluß des Kehlkopfs; Epiglottītis, Kehldeckelentzündung …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • epiglottis — ► NOUN ▪ a flap of cartilage at the root of the tongue, which is depressed during swallowing to cover the opening of the windpipe. ORIGIN Greek, from gl tta tongue …   English terms dictionary

  • Epiglottis — The flap that covers the trachea during swallowing so that food does not enter the lungs. Not everything in medicine is perfectly logical. The name epiglottis was compounded from "epi " and " glottis" from the Greek… …   Medical dictionary

  • epiglottis — UK [ˌepɪˈɡlɒtɪs] / US [ˌepɪˈɡlɑtɪs] noun [countable] Word forms epiglottis : singular epiglottis plural epiglottises or epiglottides medical the small piece of flesh at the back of your tongue that closes your windpipe when you swallow food …   English dictionary

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