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June 1991

Fine-Needle Aspiration in Recurrent Tonsillitis

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology, Toronto (Ontario) General Hospital; and the Departments of Microbiology (Dr Cafferkey) and Otolaryngology (Dr Walsh), Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Dr Timon is a Conacher Research Fellow.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991;117(6):653-656. doi:10.1001/archotol.1991.01870180089017

• The incidence of tonsillitis that is unresponsive to penicillin therapy is leading to concern. This phenomenon has been linked to a change in the core tonsil bacteria, in particular β-lactamase production. To date, the only way to identify the presence of these resistant microbes is at tonsillectomy. In this prospective study, we performed fine-needle tonsil aspiration in 34 patients (mean age, 7.6 years) before tonsillectomy. The bacteriologic nature of the aspirate was compared with that obtained from culturing the tonsillar surface (in situ) and core of the resected tonsils. The bacteriologic findings of the aspirate corresponded closely with those of the tonsil core (qualitative and quantitative comparison), while the superficial swab was of limited value in predicting the core bacteria. Based on this study, tonsil fine-needle aspiration may have a place in the treatment of recurrent tonsillitis.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991; 117:653-656)