Trends in the management of secondary post-tonsillectomy hemorrhage in children

Christine M. Clark, Jane R. Schubart, Michele M. Carr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective: To define current practices in management of secondary post-tonsillectomy hemorrhage (PTH) in children by pediatric and general otolaryngologists. Introduction: Bleeding after tonsillectomy is common. Our goal was to describe management methods across the U.S. Methods: Questions regarding perioperative management and treatment in response to three hypothetical cases featuring secondary post-tonsillectomy bleeding were posed via REDCap survey. Comparisons were made for pediatric otolaryngology fellowship training, regions of residency training and current practice, practice type, and number of years in practice. Results: A total of 400 surveys were distributed with 104 responses. Fellowship-trained respondents were more likely to have been in practice for less than ten years (41.5% versus 17.8%) and to practice in an academic setting (67.3% versus 13.6%). They were less likely to prescribe antibiotics after tonsillectomy and more likely to prescribe acetaminophen (98.3% versus 80.4%), ibuprofen (79.3% versus 56.5%), and narcotics (74.1% versus 50.0%) compared to general otolaryngologists. When faced with a post-tonsillectomy patient with visible clot but no active bleeding, pediatric otolaryngologists were less likely to remove the clot (31.6% versus 54.3%) and more likely to proceed to the OR (75.9% versus 56.5%) and admit the patient (87.9% versus 68.9%). Few regional differences were encountered; however, factors influencing the decision to pursue operative intervention varied by region. Conclusion: Pediatric otolaryngologists are more likely to follow American Academy of Otolaryngology guidelines for tonsillectomy perioperative management. They also manage patients with secondary PTH differently than general otolaryngologists. Management trends are similar by region but salient factors considered in the decision-making process vary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-201
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
StatePublished - May 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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