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July 1995

Use of Intraoperative Corticosteroids in Pediatric Tonsillectomy

Author Affiliations

Brian Weston
From the Departments of Otolaryngology (Dr Ohlms and Mr Weston) and Anesthesia (Dr Wilder), Children's Hospital, and the Departments of Otology and Laryngology (Dr Ohlms and Mr Weston) and Anesthesia (Dr Wilder), Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass. Dr Ohlms is now with the Department of Otolaryngology, Texas Children's Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995;121(7):737-742. doi:10.1001/archotol.1995.01890070023006

Objective:  To determine the effects of a single dose of dexamethasone sodium phosphate on postoperative morbidity in children undergoing tonsillectomy.

Design:  Randomized, double-blind, placebo-control clinical trial.

Setting:  Academic, tertiary care children's hospital.

Patients:  Sixty-nine children (35 boys, 34 girls), aged 3 to 18 years, undergoing tonsillectomy, with or without adenoidectomy.

Intervention:  Patients were randomized to receive a single dose of intravenous dexamethasone or saline.

Main Outcome Measures:  Pain scores, determined by a Faces Scale, were obtained at 4-hour intervals during the first postoperative day and daily for 7 days thereafter. Total use of an analgesic; type of diet; level of activity; presence of halitosis, nausea, emesis, or fever; and incidence of postoperative bleeding were also compared between the two groups.

Results:  The two groups of children were similar in age, gender, diagnosis, and surgical time. Pain scores in the postoperative period were identical while the patients were in the hospital and for the first 7 days after discharge. No statistically significant differences were noted in pain scores, nausea, emesis, halitosis, analgesic medications required, diet, or activity levels between the two groups of patients.

Conclusion:  A single intraoperative dose of dexamethasone did not appreciably affect postoperative morbidity in children undergoing tonsillectomy.(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1995;121:737-742)

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