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Surgery for children with sleep apnea improves quality of life

CHICAGO Children with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have improvements in their quality of life as well as their sleep disorder after surgical removal of the tonsils and adenoid tissue, according to an article in the April issue of Archives of OtolaryngologyHead & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

In recent years, there has been an increased frequency of adenotonsillectomy (the surgical removal of the tonsils and adenoid tissue) for abnormal enlargement and sleep breathing disturbance rather than chronic infection, according to background information in the article. In addition, previous studies have shown that quality of life (QOL) is impaired for children with sleep disturbances, both global and in some specific areas likely to be problematic for children with obstructive sleep apnea, including behavior, infections, and airway and breathing.

Michael G. Stewart, M.D., of the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, and colleagues assessed polysomnogram (PSG) results and global and specific quality of life in children with sleep-disordered breathing who were suspected of having obstructive sleep apnea at baseline and then were asked to return for follow-up assessment at six months and one year. In children, obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by a disorder of breathing during sleep caused by an airway obstruction. PSG is an overnight test to evaluate sleep disorders. Quality of life was measured using standard questionnaires.

Forty-seven children were enrolled in the study on the basis of suspected sleep breathing disturbance. Thirty-one children, 22 boys and nine girls, were diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea on the basis of a polysomnogram and adenotonsillectomy was recommended. Of the 31 children, 29 returned for follow-up at six months. Of that group, 24 had undergone surgery and five had not. There were no significant differences between the two groups. "only 19 children returned for testing one year after treatment
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Contact: Ross Tomlin
713-798-4712
JAMA and Archives Journals
18-Apr-2005


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