Posttonsillectomy hemorrhage: Blame on surgeons or genes?§


  • Partly presented at the 80th Annual Meeting of German the Society of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, May 20–24, 2009, in Rostock, Germany.

  • The authors have no financial interests to report.

  • §

    The authors have no conflict of interests for this article.



To investigate whether the insertion/deletion polymorphism (−94ins/delATTG) in the promoter of NFκB1 is associated with the risk of bleeding after tonsillectomy.

Design and Setting:

Retrospective study with genotyping performed from tonsillar tissue or blood.


One hundred forty-eight patients having undergone tonsillectomy due to chronic tonsillitis, with or without posttonsillectomy hemorrhage.

Measurements and Results:

DNA-extraction from paraffin-embedded tonsillectomy tissue or blood was followed by genotyping for the insertion/deletion (−94ins/delATTG) promoter NFκB1 polymorphism. Genotypes differed significantly between patients with (n = 56) and without (n = 92) posttonsillectomy hemorrhage, with the frequency of the homozygous deletion genotype carriers (DD) significantly increased in those with posttonsillectomy bleeding with an odds ratio (OR) for bleeding of 3.78 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2–11.7, P = .023) but not in homozygous (II) insertion and heterozygous (ID) genotype carriers (II/ID). Genotype distribution in patients was compatible with the Hardy Weinberg equilibrium. In contrast, there were no statistically significant differences between patients with or without posttonsillectomy hemorrhage with regard to demographic characteristics, different surgeons, postoperative medications like analgesics, antibiotics, anticoagulation therapy, or values of variables of pre- and postoperative coagulation studies. Likewise, these variables revealed no differences between genotypes.


Carriers of the homozygous deletion allele were at an almost fourfold risk to develop posttonsillectomy hemorrhage compared to homozygous and heterozygous insertion allele carriers, independent of other risk factors. Laryngoscope, 2010