The BeSMART (Best Supportive Management for Adults Referred with Tonsillopharyngitis) multicentre observational study

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Tonsillopharyngitis is the most common ear, nose and throat emergency admission, with 80,000 episodes recorded in England in 2015-2016. Despite this, there is a paucity of evidence addressing the supportive management of tonsillopharyngitis in inpatients. The aim of this retrospective multicentre observational study was to consider the Best Supportive Management for Adults Referred with Tonsillopharyngitis (BeSMART) in the inpatient setting, and to establish any associations between practice and outcomes.


Seven hospitals in North West England and North East Scotland participated in the study. Overall, 236 adult patients admitted with tonsillopharyngitis were included. The main outcome measures were interval to return to soft diet, length of stay (LOS), pain scores and readmissions.


Women were more likely to seek professional help before presenting to secondary care (p=0.04). Patients admitted at the weekend were more likely to have a shorter LOS (p=0.03). There was no relationship between day of admission and seniority or specialty of the doctor initially seen. Prescription of corticosteroid, analgesia and a higher initial intravenous fluid infusion rate were not related to a shorter LOS.


This study is the first to yield valuable insights into the inpatient management of tonsillopharyngitis. This work represents part of an ongoing project to establish the evidence for common medical interventions for sore throat. Patient and professional surveys as well as a prospective interventional study are planned for the future.

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