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Tonsil removal increases heart risk

Removing the tonsils or appendix can increase the risk of suffering a heart attack at a young age, research has revealed.

People who undergo a tonsillectomy before they turn 20 could raise their chances of having a premature heart attack by 44%.

The research also found that an appendectomy procedure increased the risk by a third.

But Swedish researchers highlighted that the absolute chances of suffering a heart attack were low even for children having the operations.

The study saw the national health records of millions of Swedish residents monitored by a team from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm for an average of 23.5 years.

Among the study population were more than 27,284 people whose tonsils had been removed and 54,449 who had undergone appendectomies before the age of 20.

During the study period, 89 of the appendectomy group and 47 of the tonsillectomy group experienced an acute myocardial infarction (AMI), or heart attack.

Their likelihood of suffering an attack was compared with that of randomly chosen 'controls' who had not undergone tonsil or appendix operations.

The findings were published in the European Heart Journal.

Studies suggest that between 10% and 20% of all young people have their tonsils or appendix removed, usually because of infections.

Copyright Press Association 2011