To investigate variations in the management and outcomes of peritonsillar abscesses, and to develop a trainee collaborative network in the UK.
Data were collected prospectively on suspected peritonsillar abscess cases presenting over a 2-month period at 42 participating secondary care centres, covering a population of 16 million. The primary outcome was an adverse event at 30 days, defined as re-presentation or re-drainage.
Eighteen per cent of the 325 cases experienced an adverse event. Follow-up data were valid for 90 per cent of cases. Regression analyses showed a significant reduction in adverse events in the 12 per cent of patients who were discharged within 12 hours, and there was no significant increase in adverse events for the 70 per cent receiving corticosteroids.
Out-patient management of peritonsillar abscess is not commonly practised in the UK. Corticosteroid usage is common and appears safe. This study demonstrates that trainees working in collaboration can effectively deliver prospective multicentre cohort studies in the UK.
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