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October 1965

Factors in Tonsillectomy Mortality

Author Affiliations

From the divisions of otolaryngology and anesthesiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Drs. Alexander and Graff); director, Bureaus of Biostatistics, Baltimore City Health Department (Miss Kelley).

Arch Otolaryngol. 1965;82(4):409-411. doi:10.1001/archotol.1965.00760010411015

BISHOP1 reported in 1946 that of 6,250 deaths occurring on the operating table, 542 (9%) were patients undergoing tonsillectomy. A recent survey on operative deaths in the pediatric age group by the Baltimore Anesthesia Study Committee revealed that tonsillectomy was the operative procedure resulting in the highest number of anesthesia deaths among children.2 This study presents data accumulated by the Baltimore Anesthesia Study Committee on 17 operative deaths associated with tonsillectomy procedures and will evaluate primary and contributory factors that led to these deaths.

Source of Material  The Baltimore Anesthesia Study Committee is sponsored jointly by the Baltimore City Medical Society and the Baltimore City Health Department. Details on the organization of this committee have been reported in previous publications.3,4 Briefly, all death certificates in Baltimore are reviewed by personnel of the Baltimore City Health Department, and where death occurred the day of or the day after

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