To determine the effectiveness of postoperative gastric decompression in reducing the incidence and complications associated with vomiting following tonsillectomy.
A prospective, randomized controlled study.
Private office and clinic of a university teaching hospital and research center.
Eighty pediatric patients ranging in age from 22 months to 11 years, American Society of Anesthesiologists class I or II, undergoing tonsillectomy with or without adenoidectomy were enrolled in the study. Six were excluded from the final analysis, 5 because of failure of the parents to complete and return the data forms and 1 because of postoperative bleeding. Of the 74 patients included in the study, 35 were in the control group and 39 were in the study group.
The 39 patients in the study group underwent postoperative aspiration of gastric contents with an orogastric tube placed under direct visualization while the patient was still under general anesthesia. The 35 patients in the control group did not undergo gastric aspiration following surgery.
Main Outcome Measures
The incidence of vomiting, the number of episodes of vomiting before and after hospital discharge, the total volume of emesis, the postoperative length of stay, the need for rescue antiemetic prophylaxis, and the number of readmissions to the hospital for persistent vomiting were noted.
No statistically significant difference (P<.05) was noted between the control group and the study group for the percentage of patients experiencing vomiting (74% vs 85%), the mean number of episodes of vomiting before (2.6 vs 2.8) and after (0.8 vs 0.7) hospital discharge, the mean volume of emesis (157 mL vs 222 mL), the postoperative length of stay (394 minutes vs 334 minutes), the percentage of patients requiring rescue antiemetics (34% [12 patients] vs 33% [13 patients]), and the percentage of unplanned admissions because of vomiting (9% [3 patients] vs 15% [6 patients]).
Our results indicate that gastric aspiration does not decrease the incidence of vomiting following tonsillectomy.