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Postoperative hemorrhage with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use after tonsillectomy: a meta-analysis.

OBJECTIVE: To use standard meta-analysis techniques to determine the risk of postoperative hemorrhage associated with the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) after tonsillectomy.

DATA SOURCES: The MEDLINE database (1966-2001) restricted to the English language was searched using the keywords tonsillectomy, hemorrhage, analgesics, and NSAID in various combinations. Additionally, published articles were cross-referenced. To ensure completeness, the search was rerun using the Science Citation Index database.

STUDY SELECTION: Of the 110 articles identified, 7 were selected. Selected studies were prospective trials comparing the effects of an NSAID and a control drug on posttonsillectomy pain and hemorrhage in pediatric and/or adult patients. In all cases, the NSAID or control was administered through an enteric route in the postoperative period. Patients were monitored for early and delayed hemorrhage.

DATA EXTRACTION: Data were extracted independently by 2 investigators.

DATA SYNTHESIS: A random effects model was used to compute a pooled odds ratio. For the 1368 patients included in analysis, the pooled odds ratio of posttonsillectomy hemorrhage with NSAIDs compared with controls was 1.29 and was not statistically significant (95% confidence interval, 0.85-1.73; P>/=.05). A subgroup analysis revealed an odds ratio of 0.93 (95% confidence interval, 0.44 -1.95; P>/=.05) for the nonaspirin NSAID group, while the aspirin group had a statistically significant odds ratio of 1.94 (95% confidence interval, 1.09-3.42; P =.02).

CONCLUSIONS: There is an increased risk of posttonsillectomy hemorrhage with the use of aspirin after tonsillectomy; however, there appears to be no significant increased risk of bleeding for nonaspirin NSAIDs in this meta-analysis.

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