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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders 1/2018

The role of tonsillectomy in the Periodic Fever, Aphthous stomatitis, Pharyngitis and cervical Adenitis syndrome; a literature review

BMC Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2018
Jostein Førsvoll, Knut Øymar
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12901-017-0049-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Tonsillectomy (TE) or adenotonsillectomy (ATE) may have a beneficial effect on the clinical course in children with the Periodic Fever, Aphthous stomatitis, Pharyngitis and cervical Adenitis (PFAPA) syndrome. However, an immunological reason for this effect remains unknown. This literature review summarizes the current knowledge of the effect of TE or ATE in the PFAPA syndrome.


A search of PubMed, Medline, EMBASE and Cochrane was conducted for papers written in English dated from 1 January 1987 to 31 December 2016. The search included all studies reporting outcomes after TE or ATE from children aged 0 to 18 years with PFAPA.


Two randomized controlled trials reported significantly faster resolution of febrile episodes after TE or ATE in children with PFAPA compared to controls (non-surgery groups). We identified 28 case series including 555 children with PFAPA. The diagnosis was set prospectively before surgery in 440 children and retrospectively after surgery in 115 of the children. TE or ATE had a curative effect in 509 of the 555 children with PFAPA (92%), but few studies were of high quality.


TE or ATE may have a curative effect on children with PFAPA, but the evidence is of moderate quality. Further high-quality randomized controlled studies are still needed.
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