Which physical findings are characteristic of peritonsillar abscesses (PTAs)?

Updated: Sep 03, 2020
  • Author: Jorge Flores, MD; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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Physical findings may include the following:

  • Mild-to-moderate distress

  • Fever

  • Tachycardia

  • Dehydration

  • Drooling, salivation, or trouble handling oral secretions

  • Trismus

  • “Hot potato” or muffled voice

  • Rancid or fetid breath

  • Cervical lymphadenitis in the anterior chain

  • Asymmetric tonsillar hypertrophy

  • Localized fluctuance

  • Inferior and medial displacement of the tonsil

  • Contralateral deviation of the uvula

  • Erythema of the tonsil

  • Exudates on the tonsil

See Presentation for more detail.

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