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Surgery proves effective in treating pediatric obstructive sleep apnea

Infants and young toddlers with obstructive sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing experience significant improvement following surgical treatment of the ailment, according to an invited article in the June 2009 issue of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

The study evaluated 73 cases in which children younger than two years old were treated for obstructive sleep apnea through the removal of the adenoids, tonsils, or both (adenotonsillectomy).

Those treated through surgery experienced significant improvement on the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), an index that measures the severity of sleep apnea. Those treated medically, but not surgically, exhibited no improvement after treatment. The study's authors also concluded that the rate and types of post-surgical complications were within acceptable levels.

Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) in children, from infancy through puberty, while similar to adult sleep apnea, actually has different causes, consequences, and treatments. A child with SDB does not necessarily have this condition when they become an adult. The consequences of pediatric obstructive sleep apnea include snoring; sleep deprivation (which can cause moodiness and behavioral issues); abnormal urine production; slowed growth and development; and attention deficit and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders.

Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery is the official scientific journal of the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) and the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA). The study's authors are Joseph S. Brigance, MD, R. Christopher Miyamoto, MD, Peter Schilt, MD, Derek Houston, PhD, Jennifer L. Wiebke, MD, Deborah Givan, MD, and Bruce H. Matt, MD, MS. They are associated with Indiana University School of Medicine and Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St Vincent, both in Indianapolis, IN.

Reporters who wish to obtain a copy of both articles should contact Matt Daigle at 1-703-535-3754, or at

About the AAO-HNS

The American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (, one of the oldest medical associations in the nation, represents nearly 12,000 physicians and allied health professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the ears, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck. The Academy serves its members by facilitating the advancement of the science and art of medicine related to otolaryngology and by representing the specialty in governmental and socioeconomic issues. The organization's vision: "Empowering otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons to deliver the best patient care."

Matt Daigle | EurekAlert!
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