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Common Procedure May Improve Children's Behavior

Adenotonsillectomy associated with improved sleep, better behavioral scores

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Children with sleep-disordered breathing exhibit sleep and behavioral improvements following adenotonsillectomy, according to a report published in the October issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

Julie L. Wei, M.D., of the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, and colleagues analyzed data from 117 children who were diagnosed with sleep-disordered breathing and underwent adenotonsillectomy. The mean age of patients was 6.5 years, and their parents completed the Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire (PSQ) and the Conners' Parent Rating Scale-Revised Short Form (CPRS-RS) to assess sleep issues and behavior before the surgery and six months after. Six-month follow-up data was available for 71 children.

While mean T scores on the behavioral scale before surgery put the children in or near the at-risk group for several issues including cognitive problems, inattention and oppositional behavior, scores for each category dropped after surgery by a statistically and clinically significant level. Mean scores on the sleep questionnaire dropped below the cutoff level that suggests obstructive sleep apnea, the report indicates.

"Without a control group that did not undergo adenotonsillectomy, we cannot prove definitively that the surgical intervention was the cause of the change in behavior as measured by the CPRS-RS. However, the PSQ and CPRS have been used together in a four-year prospective cohort study demonstrating that symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing actually precede development of hyperactivity. Such findings lend validity to our data, which shows that treatment of sleep-disordered breathing can lead to amelioration of behavior and sleep problems," the authors write.

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