Current trend of antibiotic prescription and management for peritonsillar abscess: A cross‐sectional study Academic Article uri icon

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  • Objective: There are no consensus guidelines for managing peritonsillar abscess (PTA) despite its prevalence. In order to devise best practice guidelines, current practice patterns must first be established. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study, surveying Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery trainees (residents and fellows) and consultant (academic and community). The primary outcome was the type and duration of outpatient antibiotic prescription. Secondary outcomes included differences in workup, management, prescription, and follow-up. Results: There were 57 respondents to the survey; 24 (42%) trainees (residents/fellows) and 33 (58%) consultants. On average, each respondent managed an average of 15.2 (SD 11.2) PTAs within the last year. All respondents prescribed oral antibiotics, with amoxicillin-clavulanic acid being the most common (61%). Trainees prescribed amoxicillin-clavulanic acid more often than consultants (n = 21, 88% vs n = 14, 42%, P = .0084), respectively. Duration of antibiotic therapy ranged from 5 to 14 days. Most commonly, a 10-day course of antibiotics was prescribed (n = 31, 54%). Regarding the management of PTAs, a majority of respondents requested blood work (n = 39, 68%), performed needle aspiration (n = 42, 72%) and performed incision and drainage (n = 52, 91%). Culture and sensitivity of the aspirate/drainage fluid was frequently performed (n = 41, 72%). Patients were often provided non-opioid analgesics (n = 46, 81%), but more than half still received prescription opioids (n = 36, 63%). The majority of clinicians arranged for follow-up (n = 42, 74%), most often with Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery (n = 27, 64%), with an average follow-up of 12.5 (SD 8.2) days. Conclusion: We found heterogeneity in the management of PTAs, with variability in the outpatient antibiotic prescription. This study highlighted the wide range of management strategies employed along with differences in workup, investigation, post-discharge analgesic prescription, and follow-up arrangements. Level of Evidence: 5.


  • Wu, Vincent
  • Manojlovic Kolarski, Mirko
  • Kandel, Christopher E
  • Monteiro, Eric
  • Chan, Yvonne

publication date

  • April 2021