Outcome of tonsillectomy in selected patients with PFAPA syndrome

Lorenzo Pignataro, Sara Torretta, Maria Cristina Pietrogrande, Rosa Maria Dellepiane, Paola Pavesi, Anna Bossi, Lorenzo Drago, Pasquale Capaccio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To assess the practicability of integrated medical and surgical management and the effectiveness of tonsillectomy in children with PFAPA syndrome (periodic fever, aphthous stomatitis, pharyngitis, and cervical lymphadenopathy). Design: A prospective study. Setting: Secondary pediatric and otolaryngological university center. Patients: Of 30 patients evaluated for periodic fever, 18 children with PFAPA syndrome were included in the study. Interventions: Patients underwent long-term pediatric and otolaryngological assessments, and their parents were asked to keep monthly diaries with reports of any subsequent episodes, symptom, and related sign. Patients received traditional medical therapies, and 9 patients underwent tonsillectomy for the lack of lasting recovery. Main Outcomes Measures: The association between postoperative outcomes and age at tonsillectomy and the differences in the patients' condition before and after tonsillectomy were statistically tested. In addition, the removed tonsillar tissue was analyzed molecularly to evaluate concomitant infections. Results: All of the surgical patients reported a symptomatic improvement, with complete clinical recovery in 5 cases (56%) and significant reduction in number (P=.005) and duration (P=.03) of recurrences in the remaining 4 (44%). Results of molecular analysis of tonsillar specimens were negative for bacteria in all but 1 patient. Conclusion: Otolaryngologists should be trained to recognize PFAPA syndrome, for which management consists of a regular and prolonged second-level pediatric and otolaryngological follow-up, with surgery only after the failure of traditional medical therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-553
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Surgery


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