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New Study Estimates Bleeding Rates in Children After Tonsillectomy

Slightly more than 2 percent of children returned to ED or hospital with postoperative bleeding

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 3, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Just over 2 percent of children experience post-tonsillectomy bleeding requiring emergency department or hospital care, according to a study published online March 30 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Romaine F. Johnson, M.D., from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, and colleagues estimated the probability of bleeding after pediatric tonsillectomy using data from the Pediatric Health Information System (96,415 children; Jan. 1, 2016, through Aug. 31, 2021).

The researchers found that 2.18 percent of children returned to the emergency department or hospital with postoperative bleeding. The predicted 5th, 50th, and 95th quantiles for bleeding were 1.17, 1.97, and 4.75 percent, respectively. Hispanic ethnicity (odds ratio, 1.19), a very high residential Opportunity Index (odds ratio, 1.28), gastrointestinal disease (odds ratio, 1.33), obstructive sleep apnea (odds ratio, 0.85), obesity (odds ratio, 1.24), and age older than 12 years (odds ratio, 2.48) were associated with bleeding after tonsillectomy.

“These study findings can be generalized in several ways,” the authors write. “First, the probability model can serve as a tool for individuals and institutions to compare posttonsillectomy hemorrhage rates. Second, the study proposes a definition that can be measured and compared with other groups. Third, the model provides data that can be used in hypothesis testing for future studies.”

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