Objective: To assess the impact of the waiting list on the spontaneous resolution of recurrent acute tonsillitis in children.
Methods: We have evaluated 623 cases placed on the waiting list for elective tonsillectomy (with or without adenoidectomy) between February 1994 and May 1999 at our institution. In each child, age, time on the waiting list, type of procedure and outcome were registered. There were two possible outcomes after the preoperative evaluation: tonsillectomy was still indicated or tonsillectomy was not necessary.
Results: Mean length of time on the waiting list was 10.8 months (range: 3.0-35.6 months; median: 8.2 months). In 507 of the 623 children (81.4%), the operation was still indicated. However, 116 patients (18.6%) did not need surgery because of spontaneous resolution of the clinical picture. No relation was found between outcome and age, time on the waiting list or type of procedure (P>0.05).
Conclusion: There was no clinical evidence for claiming that resolution of recurrent acute tonsillitis in children is spontaneous with time.