PLoS One. 2022 Aug 25;17(8):e0273320. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0273320. eCollection 2022.
This study aims to provide a national benchmark rate of post-tonsillectomy haemorrhage (PTH) in Australia. Using data from Australia’s National Hospital Morbidity Database (NHMD) from 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2020, we have conducted a nation-wide population-based study to estimate a reference rate of PTH. Outcomes of interest included the overall rate and time-trend of PTH, the relationship between PTH rates with age and gender as well as the epidemiology of tonsillectomy procedures. A total of 941,557 tonsillectomy procedures and 15,391 PTH episodes were recorded for the study period. Whilst the incidence of tonsillectomy procedures and the number of day-stay tonsillectomy procedures have increased substantially over time, the overall rate of PTH for all ages has remained relatively constant (1.6% [95% CI: 1.61 to 1.66]) with no significant association observed between the annual rates of PTH and time (year) (Spearman correlation coefficient, Rs = 0.24 (95% CI: -0.22 to 0.61), P = 0.3). However, the rate of PTH in adults (aged 15 years and over) experienced a statistically significant mild to moderate upward association with time (year) Rs = 0.64 (95% CI: 0.28 to 0.84), P = 0.003. Analysis of the odds of PTH using the risk factors of increasing age and male gender showed a unique age and gender risk pattern for PTH where males aged 20 to 24 years had the highest risk of PTH odds ratio 7.3 (95% CI: 6.7 to 7.8) compared to patients aged 1 to 4 years. Clinicians should be mindful of the greater risk of PTH in male adolescents and young adults. The NHMD datasets can be continually used to evaluate the benchmark PTH rate in Australia and to facilitate tonsillectomy surgical audit activities and quality improvement programs on a national basis.