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Adenotonsillectomy for Snoring & Sleep Apnea in Children

Updated: Jan 8

Pediatric Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a multifaceted condition with far-reaching implications for a child's health. As a prevalent concern, the success of interventions, particularly adenotonsillectomy, plays a pivotal role in determining the well-being of affected children. In this blog post, we will discuss a recent clinical trial that shows how adenotonsillectomy can be a viable option benefits for children who suffer from mild sleep-disordered breathing which includes loud snoring and sleep apnea.

In this blog post, we delve into a recent clinical trial highlighting the viability of adenotonsillectomy as a beneficial option for children experiencing mild sleep-disordered breathing, encompassing issues like loud snoring and sleep apnea.

Child snoring and sleeping with sleep apnea

What is Adenotonsillectomy?

Adenotonsillectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of tonsils and adenoids. It is one of the most common surgical procedures for children with breathing problems during their sleep. The procedure is usually done under general anesthesia and takes around 30 to 45 minutes. After surgery, patients will need to be monitored for any complications, and the recovery time will vary depending on the individual's age.

The PATS Study

The Pediatric Adenotonsillectomy Trial for Snoring (PATS) is a clinical trial that evaluated the effectiveness of adenotonsillectomy for children with mild sleep-disordered breathing. In this particular study, 459 children between ages 3 to 12, were enrolled at seven academic sleep centers in the United States. One group of participants underwent adenotonsillectomy, while the other half received supportive care without surgery. The study lasted for one year, and the researchers evaluated various outcomes to determine the intervention's effectiveness.

Key Findings

At the end of the study period, the researchers found that adenotonsillectomy provided several beneficial changes in children with mild sleep-disordered breathing. The group that underwent surgery had reduced daytime sleepiness, less snoring, fewer behavioral problems, better quality of life, and lower blood pressure. Additionally, the surgery group was less likely to show progression of the disease to full-blown sleep apnea.

While both groups showed improvement in cognition and attention, there were no significant differences between the surgical and non-surgical groups.

Is Adenotonsillectomy for Everyone?

While adenotonsillectomy is beneficial for children with mild sleep-disordered breathing, it may not be appropriate for everyone. In any case, a sleep study should be done to rule out apneas in kids who snore. Parents whose children exhibit only snoring may not require surgery at this point, and they can continue to be monitored without surgery. However, for children with disturbed sleep, daytime sleepiness, and behavioral problems, surgery can be a reasonable option.

Risk Factors for Persistent Disease

Despite the overall improvement in PSG measures, complications post-adenotonsillectomy may require referral to a tertiary care facility. Risk factors for persistent complications include obesity, more severe OSA at baseline, and specific syndromes like Down syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, or craniofacial anomalies.


Considering Adenotonsillectomy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children?

ENT Family in Hollywood, Florida is here to help. Our expert team offers fast and accurate diagnoses, including sleep studies for OSA. We prioritize minimal-invasive treatments whenever possible, but if adenotonsillectomy is the best option, we'll guide you with confidence and care.

Address: 3911 Hollywood Blvd Suite 201, Hollywood, FL 33021, United States

Phone: 754-888-1368


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Dr. David Eleff, Otolaryngologist/Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist at ENT Family in Hollywood, Florida.

This article has been medically reviewed by  otolaryngologist, David Eleff, M.D.

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3911 Hollywood Blvd, Suite 201, Hollywood, FL

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