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Anaesthesia. 2006 Feb;61(2):116-22.

Postoperative pain, nausea and vomiting following paediatric day-case tonsillectomy.

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Department of Anaesthesia, Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 7EG, UK.


More than 30% of all surgical activity for children in England and Wales is accounted for by routine ENT operations. There is known to be a high incidence of postoperative pain, nausea and vomiting following paediatric tonsillectomy with or without adenoidectomy. This prospective study examined the incidence of these complications in 100 children admitted for routine, elective day-case tonsillectomy, with or without adenoidectomy. The children were anaesthetised in accordance with our standard paediatric day-case protocol. The incidence of vomiting on the day of surgery was significantly less in the group anaesthetised in accordance with the protocol, compared to those in previously published studies. Postoperative pain was well controlled, with 88% of the children having minimal pain on the day of surgery, and reporting a pain score of 0-2. Modifying the anaesthetic care to a protocol designed to reduce postoperative pain, nausea and vomiting achieved measurable improvements in the recovery of this group following surgery. It has enabled us to evolve from a 100% inpatient stay for these operations to 98% day-case discharge rate, with minimal post anaesthetic or surgical morbidity. We describe the protocol and discuss the implications of implementing such a protocol for children undergoing these common operations.

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