Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are sleep disorders normally associated with middle-aged, overweight, males. Yet some 12% of pre-school children have primary, habitual snoring; and, more alarmingly, some 1% to 3% of children have the potentially life- threatening medical condition of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Past clinical trials focusing on quality of life (QOL) for children with OSA have addressed sleep apnea and tonsillitis and have failed to systematically use a full-night PSG during the trial. Other research efforts lacked a control group or proper randomization of the subjects.

But a new research effort addresses the lack of consensus on surgical indications for pediatric OSA by assessing QOL outcomes following adenotonsillectomy. The researchers, who presented the findings at the 110th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, examined the existing data on pediatric OSA and QOL to compare healthy pediatric patients and those with OSA. The study also sought to determine QOL in children with OSA after adenotonsillectomy in both short and long-term follow-up.

The results of the study confirm that children with adenotonsillar hypertrophy have a poorer health status than healthy children. Furthermore, health status in children with OSA was similar to that of children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The study also found that quality of life (QOL) in pediatric patients with OSA markedly improves following adenotonsillectomy. This improvement in QOL was maintained in long-term follow-up at six to 12 months.