Tonsillectomy Mortality

Donald W. Benson, MD
JAMA. 1966;195(9):788. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100090122038.
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To the Editor:—  The letter by Vincent J. Collins, MD, of Chicago deserves a tempering rebuttal. In the Archives of Otolaryngology (82:409, 1965), a study of the statistics garnered by the Baltimore Anesthesia Study Committee showed that there were 164,750 tonsillectomies done in the city of Baltimore from August 1953 to August 1964. In this group there were 17 deaths. Of the 17 deaths, 12 were considered to be associated with anesthesia and thereby related to an airway problem. Of these 12, eight had no endotracheal tube and four had an endotracheal tube. It is safe to say that in Baltimore better than 80% of all tonsillectomy anesthesias are given without an endotracheal tube. The authors conclude from this that the presence or absence of an endotracheal tube is not a significant factor, pointing out that asphyxia can occur with or without an endotracheal tube.In Acid-Base Balance During


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