Importance It is uncertain whether children with bleeding disorders are at higher risk of posttonsillectomy hemorrhage compared with the general pediatric population.
Objectives To estimate the national rate of posttonsillectomy hemorrhage in children previously diagnosed with von Willebrand disease (VWD) or hemophilia, and to analyze potential risk factors for postoperative bleeding in these children.
Design A cross-sectional analysis of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kids' Inpatient Database (KID) from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2009.
Setting Academic and community-based nonrehabilitation hospitals from 44 states participating in the KID project.
Participants An estimated 508 children with either VWD or hemophilia.
Interventions Tonsillectomy with and without adenoidectomy, and subsequent hospitalization.
Main Outcome Measure Treatment for posttonsillectomy hemorrhage.
Methods We extracted all cases of tonsillectomy, adenotonsillectomy, and posttonsillectomy hemorrhage in patients with VWD or hemophilia using International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision diagnostic and procedure codes and applied national weights to estimate rates of posttonsillectomy hemorrhage. Using data regarding patient demographic characteristics, surgical indication, blood transfusion, hospital length of stay, and mortality, we conducted bivariate analyses to identify associations between possible risk factors and posttonsillectomy hemorrhage.
Results Mean age was 7 years, and most patients were male, white, urbanites who had private insurance and underwent tonsillectomy for airway obstruction. The hemorrhage rate within 1 day of tonsillectomy (immediate) was 1.6% while the hemorrhage rate at least 2 days after tonsillectomy (delayed) was estimated at 15%. Delayed hemorrhage was associated with older age (P < .001) and was as high as 35% in children at least 16 years old. The rate of blood transfusion was 2.4%. There were no fatalities.
Conclusions and Relevance The frequency of immediate posttonsillectomy hemorrhage in children with VWD or hemophilia is similar to rates in the general healthy population. However, among children with VWD or hemophilia, the rate of delayed hemorrhage is substantially higher, especially in older children.