The surgical arrest of post-tonsillectomy haemorrhage: Hospital Episode Statistics 12 years on

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IntroductionThe risk of returning to theatre for arrest of haemorrhage following tonsillectomy can be determined from analysis of the Hospital Episode Statistics data provided by the Department of Health website. This method was employed previously for data between 1998-2002 and was repeated in this study to observe any changes over this time period.Materials and methodsHospital Episode Statistics data for England from 2010-2016 were used. The number of tonsillectomies and surgical arrest of post-tonsillectomy haemorrhage were considered for children and adults.ResultsOf 267,159 tonsillectomies performed over the six-year period, 5027 (1.88%) returned to theatre for control of bleeding. This was 3.5 times more likely in adults than children (P < 0.0001). Comparison with the previous study showed an increase in return to theatre rates following tonsillectomy of 1.06%, from 0.82% to 1.88%.ConclusionAdults are more likely than children to require and arrest of haemorrhage post-tonsillectomy. Return to theatre rates have increased since 2004 at an estimated additional cost to NHS England of £1,415,056 per annum. The causes of this observed increase have yet to be determined.

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