One hundred and twenty-six patients who underwent tonsillectomy because of recurrent acute tonsillitis, tonsillar hypertrophy or sleep apnoea were evaluated by tonsillar core culturing. The sleep apnoea patients served as controls, since none of them had tonsillar hypertrophy at ENT examination or any history of recurrent acute tonsillitis, and thus their tonsillar core flora could be regarded as normal.
The isolation rate of H. influenzae was much lower among sleep apnoea controls (2.7 per cent) than among either the patients with recurrent acute tonsillitis (20.3 per cent) or those with tonsillar hypertrophy (36.7 per cent) (p<0.05), as was that of group A streptococci, 5.4 per cent versus16.9 and 20 per cent, respectively (though the latter differences were not statistically significant). The isolation frequencies of B. catarrhalis, pneumococci, group C and G streptococci did not differ between the three groups.
The high tonsillar core recovery rates of H. influenzae and group A streptococci both in patients with recurrent acute tonsillitis and in those with tonsillar hypertrophy, as compared with normal controls, suggests the possible involvement of these bacteria in both conditions.