Issue N# 2 - 2000
Management of peritonsillitis / peritonsillar abscess. A UK perspective
Authors : V. V. Raut (Ipswich)
Ref. : Rev Laryngol Otol Rhinol. 2000;121,2:107-110.
Article published in english
Downloadable PDF document english
Peritonsillitis and peritonsillar abscess (quinsy) are commonly encountered emergencies in day to day ENT practice. However the value of a tonsillectomy as well as its timing in these cases is debatable amongst Otolaryngologists. A postal survey performed amongst practising ENT surgeons in the U.K. revealed that 475 out of 571 ENT surgeons (83%) prefer to "wait and observe" for a single isolated attack of peritonsillitis / peritonsillar abscess while 86 surgeons (15%) would routinely advocate interval tonsillectomy after an attack of peritonsillitis / quinsy. In patients without a background history of tonsillitis, 432 of the 475 ENT surgeons (90.9%) would advise a tonsillectomy after the second attack of peritonsillitis / quinsy whereas 30 surgeons (6.3%) would do so only after a third attack. A retrospective study of 207 patients was performed to evaluate the safety of a "wait and observe" policy. One hundred and four of the 129 adults (88.3%) and 5 out of the 6 children (83.2%) who did not undergo a tonsillectomy remained asymptomatic after the single isolated attack of peritonsillitis / quinsy. Four adults (3.1%) and 1 child (16.6%) required a tonsillectomy eventually for recurring attacks of tonsillitis. Recurrence of peritonsillitis / peritonsillar abscess was observed in 11 patients (8.5%). These results suggest that a "wait and observe" policy is safe for most patients presenting with a single attack of peritonsillitis / peritonsillar abscess without a background history of tonsillitis.
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