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Am J Otolaryngol. 2010 May-Jun;31(3):162-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amjoto.2008.12.003. Epub 2009 Apr 23.

Changing trends of peritonsillar abscess.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Edith Wolfson Medical Center, Tel-Aviv University Sackler School of Medicine, Holon, Israel.



This retrospective, cohort study aims to assess the changing characteristics of peritonsillar abscess (PTA).


Data were obtained from PTA patient records admitted to a secondary hospital over a 10-year period.


A total of 427 patients, aged 31.6 +/- 15.2 years (range, 3-91), were treated for PTA, reflecting an incidence of 0.9/10 000/y. Forty-seven (11%) patients had more than one episode. There was no sex, seasonal, or side predominance. Thirteen (3%) patients developed complications. One hundred four (24.4%) patients were 40 years or older, had a longer hospital stay, and were prone to complications. One hundred two (23.8%) patients did not have an anteceding pharyngotonsillitis. Smoking was more common among patients with PTA as compared with the general population and was associated with more complications. A total of 283 (66.2%) patients developed PTA in spite of prior antibiotic therapy; 51.1% of smokers that received prior antibiotics had a higher incidence of Streptococcus viridans isolates.


Peritonsillar abscess may have changed its characteristics: affecting more older patients having a worse and longer course and PTA evolvement without anteceding tonsillitis or in spite of a prior adequate antibiotic therapy. Smoking may be a predisposing factor.

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