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Early removal of adenoids and tonsils can help pediatric sleep apnea symptoms
Date:5/21/2013

Boston Adenotonsillectomy, or the removal of the adenoids and tonsils, is performed 500,000 times a year in the United States, often as a treatment for children with obstructive sleep apnea. However, the procedure's ability to improve a child's attention and executive functioning, behavior, sleep apnea symptoms, and quality of life has not been rigorously evaluated until now. A study led by Susan Redline, MD, MPH, director of the Program in Sleep and Cardiovascular Medicine and Associate Clinic Director of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital finds that early adenotonsillectomy in children with mild to moderately severe sleep apnea does not improve attention and executive functioning when compared to watchful waiting with supportive care. However, the study also found that early adenotonsillectomy can be beneficial in improving behavior, sleep apnea symptoms and quality of life. The research will be presented at the American Thoracic Society's International Conference and published online in the New England Journal of Medicine on May 21.

"This new evidence should be carefully considered by physicians and parents who are deciding on the best approach for a child's sleep apnea problem," said Dr. Redline. "Our study provided evidence that surgical treatment can lead to early improvements in many health-related areas of importance to children and their families, including children's behavior. Beneficial effects of surgery were shown even among overweight children, in whom the effectiveness of surgery has been questioned. However, the study also showed that many times sleep apnea resolved without surgery and that cognitive functioning did not improve more with surgery than with medical management. Thus, watchful waiting is also a reasonable option for some children with sleep apnea without many symptoms."

The study, which was conducted in partnership with eight other institutions, examined 397 children bet
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Contact: Tom Langford
tlangford@partners.org
617-534-1605
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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