Sharp rise in children admitted to hospital with throat infections since 1999

The number of children admitted to hospital in England for acute throat infections increased by 76 per cent between 1999 and 2010, according to new research published today in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Acute throat infection (ATI), which includes acute tonsillitis and acute pharyngitis, is one of the most common reasons for consulting a GP. The majority of ATIs are self-limiting and can be managed at home or by the GP, but a small proportion may require hospital admission.

This study investigated admission rates for children up to age 17 with ATI alongside trends in tonsillectomy rates, between 1999 and 2010. The study was motivated by concerns that the decline in tonsillectomy rates in recent years has led to an increase in hospital admissions for tonsillitis of increased severity. It also investigated whether performing fewer tonsillectomies is associated with higher rates of complications such as quinsy, an abscess that can occur when an infection spreads from a tonsil to the surrounding area.

The research, which was funded by a fellowship from the National Institute for Health Research, showed that the number of children admitted to hospital with ATI increased from 12,283 in 1999 to 22,071 in 2010 – a rise in admission rate of 76 per cent. Short hospital stays, lasting less than two days, increased by 115 per cent over the decade, and accounted for the majority of admissions. Stays of two or more days in hospital for ATI decreased slightly, while quinsy rates remained stable. The authors found no evidence of an association between tonsillectomy trends and admission rates or the severity of ATI or quinsy.

Signs of the Times http://www.sott.net/article/252666-Sharp-rise-in-children-admitted-to-hospital-with-throat-infections-since-1999

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