JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Peritonsillar abscess in children in the southern district of Israel.

OBJECTIVE: Peritonsillar abscess is the most common deep neck infection and still provides a challenge to care givers in terms of diagnosis and treatment in the pediatric population. This study reviews our experience over the years 2004-2007 at the Soroka University Medical Center in the southern district of Israel in treating children with peritonsillar abscess. We compared our results with data regarding peritonsillar abscess in adults.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective chart review of 126 children diagnosed and proved to have a peritonsillar abscess. Data regarding: age, sex, ethnicity, number of patients per year, seasonality, prior history of tonsillar infection, prior antibiotic treatment, length of hospitalization, surgical treatment, bacterial results and in hospital antibiotic treatment was collected from the medical charts of the patients.

RESULTS: The average age of children with peritonsillar abscess was 12.8 years. 92 patients (73%) were above 10 years of age. We did not find an increase in the number of children with peritonsillar abscess per year over the time period of the study. The number of patients with peritonsillar abscess was significantly higher in the autumn and spring, 79 (62.6%) patients did not have prior history of tonsillar infections and 64 (67.4%) children were treated with antibiotics prior to the diagnosis of an abscess. In 95 (75.4%) patients the drainage method was needle aspiration, in 30 (28.3%) patients incision and drainage was performed and only one patient underwent bilateral quinsy tonsillectomy (0.8%). The bacterial culture was negative in 37 (36.7%) patients. In 29 patients (45% of positive cultures) the causative organism was Streptococcus group A. Mixed culture was present in 10 (15.6%) patients, nine cultures (14%) were positive for anaerobes, alone or in combination with other pathogens. Eighty-one patients (64.2%) were treated with amoxicillin-clavulanate potassium, 24 (19%) received cefuroxime and 17 (13.5%) were treated with cefuroxime+ metronidazole. The average hospital stay was 3 days.

CONCLUSION: Peritonsillar abscess, a potentially life threatening infection, is similar in presentation and bacteriology in the pediatric and the adult population. Based on our review we conclude that peritonsillar abscess in children can be effectively treated by the same methods used in the adult population.

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