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inflammation of the palatine tonsils, causing enlargement, occasionally to the extent that they nearly touch one another



inflammation of the tonsils, especially the palatine tonsils. The inflammation may be acute (seeANGINA) or chronic. Although chronic tonsillitis may develop independently, it more frequently follows episodes of catarrhal tonsillitis or of other infectious diseases—such as scarlet fever, measles, and diphtheria—that are accompanied by inflammation of the pharyngeal mucous membranes.

Allergy to streptococci and adenoviruses is an important factor in the development of tonsillitis. In cases of chronic tonsillitis, there is ulceration of the mucosa, granulation, small abscesses within the tonsils themselves, and proliferation of the connective tissues. In its simple form, chronic tonsillitis is characterized by local symptoms only—for example, sore throat; in its toxic-allergic form, it is accompanied by such general symptoms as persistent cervical lymphadenitis, elevated body temperature, and cardiac changes. Chronic tonsillitis may contribute to the development or aggravation of other diseases, such as rheumatism, nephritis, and thyrotoxicosis.

Simple chronic tonsillitis is treated by antimicrobial means, irrigation of the lateral lacunae, or physiotherapy. Tonsillectomy, or surgical removal of the tonsils, may be prescribed in cases of pronounced toxic-allergic tonsillitis.


Lopotko, I. A., and O. Iu. Lakotkina. Ostryi i khronicheskii tonzillit, ikh oslozhneniia i sviaz’ s drugimi zabolevaniiami. Leningrad, 1963.
Preobrazhenskii, B. S., and G. N. Popova. Angina, chronicheskii tonzillit i sopriazhennye s nimi zabolevaniia. Moscow, 1970.
Fioretti, A. Die Gaumenmandel. Stuttgart, 1961.



Inflammation of the tonsils.
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