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The effect of tonsillectomy on the morbidity from recurrent tonsillitis

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Janet WilsonORCiD


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© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Background: Tonsillitis is a common condition with an incidence in UK general practice of 37 per 1000 population a year.1 Recurrent tonsillitis results in significant morbidity and impacts on individuals' quality of life. This study assesses the morbidity and quality of life of adults with recurrent tonsillitis, and the impact of surgical intervention on their health state. Objectives: To describe disease-specific and global quality of life for adults with recurrent tonsillitis 6 months after tonsillectomy, using two instruments: the health impact of throat problems (HITP) and EuroQol-visual analogue scale questionnaire. To assess the overall health benefit from tonsillectomy as an intervention using the Glasgow Benefit Inventory (GBI). To assess potential predictors of tonsillectomy benefit. Design: A prospective, observational cohort audit of patients who have fulfilled Scottish Intercollegiate Guideline Network (SIGN) criteria for tonsillectomy.2 Setting: Secondary care, teaching hospital. Participants: Seventy patients (57 female), median age 20 years (range 13-41). Results: Median preoperative HITP was 47 (range 15-67), compared to 4 (0-72), (P<.001) 6 months following surgery. Median HITP difference was 39.5 (range -20 to 75). There was no significant change in global Quality of Life. Median overall 6 months GBI was 39 (-3 to 100). Patients had an average of 27 episodes of tonsillitis over a period of seven years before "achieving" tonsillectomy, significantly higher than the SIGN guidelines of three or more episodes over three years. Conclusions: Recurrent tonsillitis causes a poor disease-specific quality of life. Patients experienced a median of three episodes per year for seven years before tonsillectomy. Following tonsillectomy, patients had a significant improvement in their disease-specific quality of life. Baseline HITP significantly improved after tonsillectomy. The results imply patients with recurrent acute tonsillitis may be experiencing undue delay.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Douglas CM, Lang K, Whitmer WM, Wilson JA, Mackenzie K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical Otolaryngology

Year: 2017

Volume: 42

Issue: 6

Pages: 1206-1210

Print publication date: 01/12/2017

Online publication date: 15/02/2017

Acceptance date: 02/02/2017

ISSN (print): 1749-4478

ISSN (electronic): 1749-4486

Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1111/coa.12850


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