Emergency care for posttonsillectomy and postadenoidectomy hemorrhage

Am J Emerg Med. 1995 Sep;13(5):518-23. doi: 10.1016/0735-6757(95)90161-2.


There are an estimated 4,300 cases of postoperative hemorrhage after tonsillectomy in the United States each year. Most patients seek care in the Emergency Department for this potentially fatal condition. This study was performed to characterize the clinical presentation of patients seeking Emergency Department (ED) care for posttonsillectomy and postadenoidectomy hemorrhage (PTAH). In addition, the investigators attempted to describe the ED treatment for PTAH. A retrospective review of ED and inpatient medical records was executed for patients presenting to the ED with PTAH from June 1, 1983 to May 31, 1993. All patients presenting to the ED who received a final ED diagnosis of PTAH were included in the study. The setting included two community-based teaching hospitals that share a single emergency medicine residency. The combined ED census averaged 72,000 annual visits over the study period. The ED population included both children and adults. Neither hospital had an otolaryngology residency, nor was there 24 hour in-hospital otolaryngology staffing. Factors that were reviewed included patient age, gender, final disposition, presenting vital signs, time from the initial surgery to the time of bleeding, ED treatment, and the interaction with the on-call otolaryngologist. Subpopulations were defined primarily by age (child versus adult) and disposition (home versus hospital). chi 2 Analysis was used for most comparisons. When chi 2 analysis showed an association, the phi (phi) coefficient was calculated to determine the strength of the association. When appropriate, means were compared using the Student's two-tailed t test.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adenoidectomy*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergencies
  • Emergency Service, Hospital* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics
  • Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Hemorrhage / therapy*
  • Hemostasis
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy*
  • Tonsillectomy*