Clinical guidelines, defensive medicine, and the physician between the two

Asaf Toker, Shifra Shvarts, Zvi H. Perry, Yariv Doron, Haim Reuveni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Purpose In this article, we study the use of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery recommendations regarding coagulation screening tests before tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy by ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physicians in Israel and offer insights into the reasons for accepting/declining this recommendation. Materials and methods During April and May 2002, 309 self-administered questionnaires were sent to all ENT physician members of the Israeli Society of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Physicians answered questions regarding demographic data, their habits of preoperative laboratory and imaging tests before tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, and the reasons for performing these tests. Results One hundred ninety-six (63.4% compliance rate) physicians responded to the survey. One hundred fifty-four (78.6% of the responding physicians) do not follow guideline recommendations and ask their otherwise healthy patients to undergo prothrombin time/partial thromboplastin time (PT/PTT) tests before tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. Common practice in their departments was the leading reasoning for preoperative PT/PTT testing for 101 (51.5%) physicians. Eighty-nine physicians (45.4%) specifically stated that the reason for this behavior is defensive medicine, thirty-two physicians (16.3%) stated that the reason for those tests is hospital requirements, and literature recommendation was the reason in 24 (12.2%), followed by personal experience for 11 physicians (5.6%). Conclusions Most ENT physicians in Israel do not follow clinical guidelines and perform unnecessary coagulation tests before tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. More studies are needed to find ways to change physicians' behavior regarding preoperative tests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-250
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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