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International Journal of Otolaryngology
Volume 2019, Article ID 4101034, 5 pages
Research Article

Paediatric Posttonsillectomy Haemorrhage Rates in Auckland: A Retrospective Case Series

1Department of Paediatric Otorhinolaryngology, Starship Children’s Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand
2Department of Surgery, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Correspondence should be addressed to Andrés Alvo; moc.liamg@ovlaserdna

Received 14 December 2018; Accepted 11 February 2019; Published 6 March 2019

Academic Editor: Gerd J. Ridder

Copyright © 2019 Andrés Alvo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Tonsillectomy is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in children. It is performed for sleep-disordered breathing and infective symptoms. Despite advances in instrumentation and perioperative care, posttonsillectomy haemorrhage (PTH) remains a significant complication, which should be audited regularly. Methods. A retrospective case series of all tonsillectomies performed in patients <15 years old in the Auckland region during 2017 was performed. Demographic, clinical, and surgical data were extracted and analysed. Univariate analysis was performed to compare patients with and without PTH. Results. A total of 2177 tonsillectomies were performed during the study period, 64% in a public hospital and 36% in a private hospital. The overall PTH rate was 3.6% (0.23% occurring within the first 24 hours (primary) and 3.4% after 24 hours (secondary)). Mean time to PTH was 6.6 ± 3 days (range: 1-16 days). 90% of PTH occurred within the first 10 days and 99% by 14 days. Return to theatre was required in 28% of these cases, representing 1% of all tonsillectomies. There were no deaths or major complications in this cohort. The only differences observed between patients with PTH and those without were that children with PTH had smaller tonsils (p=0.004) and were less likely to have associated OME (p<0.001). Conclusion. It is important to report institutional tonsillectomy outcomes and associated complications. These results show that PTH rates in Auckland remain within acceptable limits according to the literature.