Association of ibuprofen use with post-tonsillectomy bleeding in older children

Robert T. Swanson, Jane R. Schubart, Michele M. Carr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective: Evaluate post-tonsillectomy outcomes in children discharged with ibuprofen versus those without. Methods: This was a retrospective review of children who underwent tonsillectomy ± adenoidectomy from 2012 to 2016 at a tertiary care children's hospital. Main outcome measures included bleed rates, ER visits, and nurse phone calls. Results: Seven hundred and seventy-three patients were included; 504 had ibuprofen at discharge (ID) and 269 did not (NID). There were significant differences in mean age, 6.7 years in the ID group years versus 8.6 for the NID group (P < 0.001). Indication for surgery was sleep apnea in 70.5% of ID patients and 44.0% of NID patients (P < 0.001). Post-tonsillectomy bleeds occurred in 8.7% in the ID group and 5.9% of the NID group (P = 0.168). Other outcome measures revealed no significant differences between the two groups. There was no significant difference in the outcome measures between patients with sleep apnea or recurrent tonsillitis. Age was important; 12.1% of children 9–18 years versus 4.8% in children 3.1–6 years (P = 0.006) had post-tonsillectomy bleeding. For children 9–18 years old, 16.7% in the ID group bled versus 7.5% in the NID group (P = 0.039). Logistical regression revealed that age contributed to post-op bleeding, and ibuprofen contributed to number of ER visits. Conclusion: Ibuprofen is associated with significantly elevated post-tonsillectomy bleeding in older children, further research is needed and other analgesics should be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)618-622
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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