Assessment of secondary haemorrhage rates following adult tonsillectomy: a telephone survey and literature review

A.S. Evans, A.M. Khan, D. Young, R. Adamson

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Many previous studies have considered patient re-admission rates alone as the true rate of secondary haemorrhage following adult tonsillectomy. We aimed to determine the true rate of secondary haemorrhage following tonsillectomy in adults by performing a telephone interview with 60 consecutive patients. Whilst 40% (n = 24) of our patients reported a significant episode of bleeding (blood actively flowing from their mouth for more than 1 min) following discharge, only 8% (n = 5) were re-admitted and only 3% (n = 2) required return to theatre. Review of the current literature suggests that return-to-theatre rates are more consistent than hospital re-admission rates in large studies. We would suggest that although secondary haemorrhage can occasionally be very serious, the majority is minor, and it would therefore be more useful when comparing different techniques for tonsillectomy to consider numbers of patients returning to theatre rather than re-admission rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-491
Number of pages3
JournalClinical Otolaryngology and Allied Sciences
Issue number6
Early online date14 Nov 2003
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2003


  • haemorrhage
  • literature review
  • re-admission
  • tonsillectomy

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