Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1999 Dec 15;51(3):177-80.

Postoperative bilevel positive airway pressure ventilation after tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy in children--a preliminary report.

Author information

Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in children, characterized by hypoventilation secondary to upper airway obstruction, often results from tonsil and adenoid hypertrophy. Adenotonsillectomy is the standard therapy in this patient population. The immediate postoperative period is complicated occasionally by respiratory difficulties that may require intubation and mechanical ventilation. Recently, physicians have provided temporary airway support using continuous and bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) devices. Reported complications of positive airway pressure devices include local abrasions to the nose and mouth; dryness of the nose, eyes, and mouth; sneezing; nasal drip, bleeds, and congestion; sinusitis; increased intraocular pressure; non-compliance; and pneumocephalus. Subcutaneous emphysema following facial trauma, dental extractions, adenotonsillectomy, and sinus surgery has been reported. There is also a hypothetically increased risk of subcutaneous emphysema following the use of positive airway pressure ventilation in the tonsillectomy patient. Between January 1997 and July 1998, 1321 patients underwent tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy at our institution. In reviewing the records of all pediatric intensive care unit admissions during that time period, we identified nine patients, of the 1321, who required BiPAP postoperatively. Of these, four children were obese, four had preexisting neurological disorders, and one underwent endoscopic sinus surgery and adenoidectomy. Three children were asthmatic, and three were less than 3 years of age. Two obese children were discharged with home BiPAP, one of whom had been on BiPAP prior to surgery. All patients tolerated BiPAP without complications. This preliminary report suggests that BiPAP is a safe and effective method of respiratory assistance in the adenotonsillectomy patient with preexisting conditions who is predisposed to postoperative airway obstruction. Furthermore, with BiPAP, the risks of intubation and ventilator dependence are avoided.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center