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Acta Otolaryngol. 2016 Sep;136(9):964-8. doi: 10.3109/00016489.2016.1170202. Epub 2016 Apr 25.

Predisposing factors and management of complications in acute tonsillitis.

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a Department of Otorhinolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery , Technical University of Munich , Munich , Germany.



RPA and NF was diagnosed with a sensitivity/specificity of 100%/94% in patients with acute tonsillitis and without suspicion for disease complication after ENT examination, but an age >35 years and serum CRP >15.5mg/dl.


Acute tonsillitis represents a frequent disease in the otorhinolaryngology. Some patients exhibit disease aggravations resulting in (descending) peritonsillar abscess (PTA, dPTA), para-/retropharyngeal abscess (PPA, RPA), or necrotising fasciitis (NF). The study analyses the underlying predisposing factors.


The retrospective cohort study includes a total of 1636 patients comprising 852 outpatients with acute bacterial tonsillitis, 279 in-patients with acute bacterial tonsillitis, 452 patients with PTA, 31 patients with dPTA/PPA, 12 patients with RPA, and 10 patients with NF. Patients were analysed for disease-related data.


While leucocytes do not distinguish the sub-groups, C-reactive protein demonstrated a significant increase resulting in the highest level for RPA and NF (p < 0.0001). PTA and RPA are usually caused by streptococcus, dPTA/PPA by anaerobic bacterias, and NF mixed infections (p < 0.0001). Patients with PTA were younger than dPTA/PPA (p = 0.002) or RPA/NF (p < 0.0001). Subsequently, the rate of internistic comorbidities was significantly increased in RPA/NF (p < 0.0001). ROC-analysis identified cut-offs for age <36 years and CRP <15.5mg/dl to distinguish acute bacterial tonsillitis from RPA.


Tonsillitis; complication; necrotising fasciitis; parapharyngeal abscess; therapy

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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