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Tonsillectomy Helps Kids' Sleep Apnea

Benefits continued long after surgery, study finds

THURSDAY, April 21, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- The surgical removal of tonsils and adenoid tissue helps improve sleep and quality of life for children with obstructive sleep apnea, researchers report.

"Children who underwent adenotonsillectomy had significant improvements in quality of life scores," said researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston.

The study followed 31 children diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which sufferers wake repeatedly during the night due to blocked airways. Doctors recommended adenotonsillectomy to help treat the problem in the children.

Of the 29 children assessed six months later, 24 had undergone surgery and five had not had surgery. The researchers compared quality of life and readings from a polysomnogram, a machine that measures sleep quality, between the two groups.

"We found significantly larger quality of life changes in children who underwent surgery compared with children without surgery," the Baylor team wrote. Polysomnogram readings also improved, the researchers added, with gains in both sleep and the children's quality of life continuing for at least a year after surgery.

The findings appear in the April issue of the journal Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about children and sleep apnea.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, April 18, 2005
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