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Tonsillectomy reduces risk of strep throat

Children who are more susceptible to strep throat infection benefit by undergoing tonsillectomy,according to a Mayo clinic study.//

Children whose tonsils have not been removed are over three times more likely to develop subsequent episodes of strep throat than children who undergo tonsillectomy. .

"These results suggest that tonsillectomy is a useful therapy for treating children with recurrent strep throat infections," says Laura Orvidas, M.D., Mayo Clinic ear, nose and throat surgeon and senior study investigator. "It should decrease the amount of infections experienced by this subset of children and therefore diminish the number of missed school days and hopefully improve overall quality of life."

Dr. Orvidas and colleagues conducted a population-based retrospective cohort study of children between ages 4 and 16 who received three or more diagnoses of strep-related tonsillitis or pharyngitis at least one month apart, within 12 months. Within this group, children who subsequently underwent a tonsillectomy were compared with an age- and sex-matched sample of children who had not had a tonsillectomy. The date of the tonsillectomy for the matched pair was defined as the index date. All strep infections were recorded for both groups of children.

The study population comprised 290 children (145 who received a tonsillectomy and 145 who did not). In the tonsillectomy group, 74 children experienced at least one strep infection after the index date and before age 16. Among those who did not receive a tonsillectomy, 122 experienced at least one strep infection during the follow-up. The time before first subsequent strep infection was much longer for those who had a tonsillectomy, a median of 1.1 years as compared to 0.6 years for children whose tonsils had not been removed. By one year after the index date, the cumulative incidence of a strep infection was 23.1 percent among the children who had a tonsillectomy compared to 58.5 percent
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