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Adenoid, Tonsil Removal Improves Childhood Asthma

Study finds dramatic reductions in need for medication after surgery

THURSDAY, May 26, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Removal of both the tonsils and adenoids may ease asthma symptoms in children, a new Yale University study suggests.

The findings from the study of 38 children aged 2 to 12 years indicate that adenotonsillectomy -- which provides improvement of the upper airway -- may in turn lead to improvements in lower airway function in children, especially those with asthma.

Thirty of the children in the study underwent adenotonsillectomy, while eight of them had adenoidectomy alone. The follow-up period ranged from seven months to four years.

The Yale team found the children's need for asthma medication dropped significantly after surgery. For example, use of inhaled steroids decreased from 26 children to 17 children, while the use of Albuterol decreased from 34 patients to 18 patients. The use of long-lasting beta 2-agonists went from four children to zero children, and the use of leukotriene moderator-type medications declined from 12 children to 11 children.

Before surgery, 19 of the children used systemic steroid medications at least once a year, the researchers noted, but this number dropped to just seven children after adenotonsillectomy.

The average asthma severity score in this group of children also fell, from 2.12 before surgery to 0.74 after surgery.

Asthmatic children also missed fewer days of school after having their tonsils and adenoids removed, dropping from 7.76 missed days per year before surgery to 3.28 after. That brought a change in parent's lives, too: following their children's surgeries, the number of missed work days per year for parents declined from an average of 7.35 to just 1.8.

The study was presented Thursday at the American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology annual meeting, in Las Vegas.

More information

The American Lung Association has more about childhood asthma.

SOURCE: American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology, news release, May 26, 2005
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