Conscious Sedation for Pediatric Peritonsillar Abscess: Comparison of Anesthetic Approaches

OBJECTIVE To compare the efficacy, safety, and cost of incision and drainage (I&D) for pediatric patients with peritonsillar abscesses (PTAs) under conscious sedation (CS) versus unsedated (awake) and general anesthesia (GA).
STUDY DESIGN Case series with chart review.
SETTING Tertiary pediatric hospital.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS Records for all pediatric patients (<18 years) treated for PTAs in the emergency department from 2005 to 2015 were reviewed and stratified into awake, CS, and GA groups for comparison. The primary outcome measure was procedure tolerance, with secondary measures including return to the emergency department within 15 days, complications, and facility costs associated with treatment.
RESULTS A total of 188 patients were identified. The median age was 14 years (interquartile range, 9-16). Awake drainage with injected local anesthetic was used in 115 children; 62 underwent CS; and 11 underwent GA. Over 92% of the children tolerated I&D regardless of anesthesia, with no difference among groups ( P = .60). None of those who underwent I&D via CS returned to the emergency department within 15 days of the procedure, as compared with 5.2% for the awake group and 9.1% for the GA group ( P = .06). None in the GA or awake group had a complication associated with the procedure, as opposed to 9.6% in the CS group ( P = .02). Complications included apnea and dental trauma (2 children each) and transient hypotension and desaturation (1 each). Cost was highest in the GA group and lowest for the awake group ( P<.0001).
CONCLUSION CS for PTA I&D is a viable treatment option with tolerance and success similar to that of the awake and GA groups. Complications were observed for those who underwent CS, but they were manageable.

as reported in: Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2019 Jan 1 194599818821905 [Epub ahead of print]