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May 1968

Late Hemorrhage Following Tonsillectomy

Author Affiliations

New London, Conn
From the Department of Otolaryngology, Yale University Medical School, New London, Conn.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1968;87(5):558. doi:10.1001/archotol.1968.00760060560025

TONSILLECTOMY is the most frequent operative procedure performed by the otolaryngologist. Hemorrhage is still the most frequent postoperative complication.

Hemorrhage may occur immediately after surgery (primary hemorrhage) or it may occur five or ten days after surgery (secondary hemorrhage) when the superficial eschar that covers the tonsillar fossa is extruded. By the end of two weeks, by consensus, the critical period for hemorrhage has passed, and the otolaryngologist again feels secure.

The following case illustrates that hemorrhage from tonsillectomy may occur at a much later date and any hemoptysis during the first month following surgery should be considered as coming from the operative site unless proven otherwise.

Report of a Case  The patient, an 8-year-old white boy, underwent tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy on June 21, 1966. Bilateral myringotomys were also performed and a thick mucoid material was aspirated from both ears.The patient's preoperative hemoglobin was 14.9 gm/100 cc and the

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