Acute suppurative tonsillitis

αcute purulent tonsillitis

Information about acute suppurative tonsillitis

What is acute suppurative tonsillitis?

Acute purulent tonsillitis, pharyngitis and tonsillopharyngitis are some of the terms used -in the field of medicine and in everyday life- to define the inflammation of the lymphatic tissue in the throat. More specifically, acute suppurative tonsillitis refers to inflammation of the palatine tonsils.



Acute suppurative tonsillitis is usually caused by pathogenic infections due to bacteria like streptococcus -and particularly group A hemolytic streptococcus- and, more rarely, by bacteria like Haemophilus, Neisseria, Moraxella or other microorganisms. Certainly there are many types of tonsillitis and tonsillopharyngitis that are caused by viruses such as rhinovirus, adenovirus, cytomegalovirus (CMV) and the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes mononucleosis and is considered as one of the most serious viral infections of the tonsils.


The acute suppurative tonsillitis is manifested by symptoms like severe sore throat, painful swallowing, high fever, general malaise, anorexia and sometimes tremors and abdominal pain. Sometimes, the tonsils may swell and become red, as well as have white spots or pus. Moreover, tonsillitis coexists several times with cervical lymphadenopathy, which is responsible to cause neck pain when pressing with the hand.

Diagnosis of acute suppurative tonsillitis

The best way to distinguish viral from bacterial tonsillitis is the blood test that counts the number and type of white blood cells and indicates the erythrocyte sedimentation rate and the C-reactive protein concentration.

Acute suppurative tonsillitis treatment

While in most European countries strep throat is treated with penicillin, in our country the numbers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria have increased, due to the misuse of antibiotics and have led to the use of cephalosporins. It goes without saying that with viral tonsillitis, antibiotics are ineffective and the treatment is limited to relieving the symptoms with paracetamol, aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

The chronic suppurative tonsillitis, which is generally defined as recurrent episodes of acute inflammation of the palatine tonsils, is treated by tonsillectomy. In addition, tonsillectomy can be indicated if a patient has recurring peritonsillar abscesses.

Complications of acute suppurative tonsillitis

Serious complications of acute suppurative tonsillitis -such as rheumatic fever, rheumatic heart disease and pyelonephritis – are rare nowadays, but it is not proven that antibiotics have reduced these complications. Less rare complications include peritonsillar inflammation, peritonsillar abscess, sepsis, inflammation spread to the parapharyngeal space and inflammation extended beyond the tonsils.

What specialty

The doctor to treat acute suppurative tonsillitis is the ENT

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