Editorials

Recurrent pharyngo-tonsillitis

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39184.617049.80 (Published 03 May 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:909

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. Paul Little, professor of primary care research
  1. University of Southampton, Aldermoor Health Centre, Southampton SO16 55T
  1. psl3{at}soton.ac.uk

    Tonsillectomy has some benefits over watchful waiting, but the net benefit is unclear and research into longer term outcomes is needed

    In this week's BMJ, a randomised controlled trial by Alho and colleagues assesses the effectiveness and safety of tonsillectomy compared with watchful waiting in adults with recurrent streptococcal pharyngo-tonsillitis (three episodes of pharyngitis in six months or four in 12 months).1 Although the minority of patients presenting to general practitioners with tonsillitis have recurrent tonsillitis, about 12% of the population has recurrent tonsillitis at some stage,2 and a substantial familial element exists.2 The trial found that tonsillectomy significantly reduced the recurrence of the principal outcome, streptococcal pharyngitis, at 90 days (1/36 (3%) v 8/34 (21%); adjusted relative risk 21%, 95% confidence interval 6% to 36%; number needed to treat 5, 3 to 16). A systematic review of tonsillectomy for chronic tonsillitis found limited data to support tonsillectomy in children and no data …

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