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Transcervical ultrasonography in the diagnosis of pediatric peritonsillar abscess.

Laryngoscope 2015 December
OBJECTIVES/HYPOTHESIS: Pediatric peritonsillar abscess (PTA) is a common infection, particularly in the adolescent population. Physical examination alone is not always sufficient to diagnose this pathology, and thus, computed tomography is often utilized as a diagnostic adjunct. With growing concern over radiation exposure in the pediatric population, we conducted a prospective study to investigate the use of ultrasonography in the detection of pediatric PTA.

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective single arm cohort study.

METHODS: Pediatric patients examined in consultation for concern for PTA were prospectively enrolled in the study. Patients were managed based on clinical symptoms and presentation. Transcervical ultrasonography of the peritonsillar region was performed on all patients. Clinical outcomes were reviewed retrospectively and compared to ultrasound findings.

RESULTS: Forty-three patients (age range, 2-20 years) were enrolled in the study. The sensitivity and specificity of transcervical ultrasound when compared to clinical outcomes were 100% and 76.5%, respectively. The positive and negative predictive values were 52.9% and 100%, respectively. Fisher exact test showed a statistically significant association (P < .01) between negative ultrasonography and successful medical management, and multivariate regression analysis showed a strong correlation between ultrasound findings and presence/absence of purulence during surgical intervention (P = .01).

CONCLUSIONS: Transcervical ultrasonography is a useful tool in diagnosing pediatric PTA. This imaging modality not only avoids undue radiation exposure, but it also proves to be an excellent tool at identifying patients who will not need surgical intervention. To our knowledge, this is the first study to explore this technique for the diagnosis of pediatric PTA.


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