Postoperative hemorrhage with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use after tonsillectomy: A meta-analysis

Srinivasan Krishna, Larry F. Hughes, Sandra Y. Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To use standard meta-analysis techniques to determine the risk of postoperative hemorrhage associated with the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) after tonsillectomy. Data Sources: The MEDLINE database (1966-2001) restricted to the English language was searched using the keywords tonsillectomy, hemorrhage, analgesics, and NSAID in various combinations. Additionally, published articles were cross-referenced. To ensure completeness, the search was rerun using the Science Citation Index database. Study Selection: Of the 110 articles identified, 7 were selected. Selected studies were prospective trials comparing the effects of an NSAID and a control drug on posttonsillectomy pain and hemorrhage in pediatric and/or adult patients. In all cases, the NSAID or control was administered through an enteric route in the postoperative period. Patients were monitored for early and delayed hemorrhage. Data Extraction: Data were extracted independently by 2 investigators. Data Synthesis: A random effects model was used to compute a pooled odds ratio. For the 1368 patients included in analysis, the pooled odds ratio of posttonsillectomy hemorrhage with NSAIDs compared with controls was 1.29 and was not statistically significant (95% confidence interval, 0.85-1.73; P≥.05). A subgroup analysis revealed an odds ratio of 0.93 (95% confidence interval, 0.44-1.95; P≥.05) for the nonaspirin NSAID group, while the aspirin group had a statistically significant odds ratio of 1.94 (95% confidence interval, 1.09-3.42; P=.02). Conclusions: There is an increased risk of posttonsillectomy hemorrhage with the use of aspirin after tonsillectomy; however, there appears to be no significant increased risk of bleeding for nonaspirin NSAIDs in this meta-analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1086-1089
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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