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Surgery improves quality of life for children with sleep apnea
Date:2/12/2008

ST. LOUIS For children who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy can provide dramatic relief and is successful in solving sleep problems for 80 to 90 percent of children, a Saint Louis University study found.

The study is the largest to date that looks at how children with varying severities of OSA fare before and after they have surgery, using both preoperative and postoperative sleep studies. The study also looked at potential factors such as age and ethnicity that could affect the diagnosis of OSA and impact of the surgery.

Children who suffer from OSA stop breathing periodically throughout the night and snore very loudly. In normal weight children, the condition is caused by enlargement of the tonsils and adenoids that aggravate upper airway collapse during sleep, which disrupts normal breathing.

Obstructive sleep apnea has a considerable impact on childrens quality of life, similar to chronic asthma or rheumatoid arthritis says Ron Mitchell, M.D., professor of pediatric otolaryngology at Saint Louis University and the studys author. Our study has shown that surgery can have a profound positive effect on childrens lives.

OSA affects boys and girls equally. Approximately 2 to 4 percent of children ages 4 to 6 years old have OSA, although Mitchell suspects the number is probably actually higher because parents dont recognize or tell doctors about the problem.

All 79 children in the study showed significant improvement after the surgery, although some children had persistent OSA. The study found that the success of the surgery was directly related the preoperative severity of OSA.

The study defined resolution of OSA as experiencing less than five incidents of interrupted breathing throughout the course of a night. OSA was resolved in all children with mild preoperative OSA (five to nine incidents per night). For children with moderate preoperative OSA (10-19 inci
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Contact: Sara Savat
ssavat@slu.edu
314-977-8018
Saint Louis University
Source:Eurekalert

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