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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2011 Nov;75(11):1385-90. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2011.07.034. Epub 2011 Aug 25.

A pilot study to identify pre- and peri-operative risk factors for airway complications following adenotonsillectomy for treatment of severe pediatric OSA.

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Department of Otology and Laryngology, Harvard Medical School, United States.



A pilot study to identify risk factors predicting post-operative complications in children with severe OSA undergoing adenotonsillectomy.


Retrospective review in a tertiary care academic institution. Two-stage least squares regression analysis and instrumental variable analysis to allow for modeling of pre- and peri-operative risk factors as having significance in predicting post-operative morbidity.


Eighty-three children (mean age 4.88 ± 3.09 years) with apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) ≥ 10 who were observed overnight following adenotonsillectomy were evaluated for rates of major (increased level of care, CPAP/BiPAP use, pulmonary edema and reintubation) and minor (oxygen saturation <90%) airway complications as well as total observation costs. Major and minor complications occurred in 4.8% and 19.3% of children, respectively. Age <2 years (p<0.01), AHI >24 (p<0.05), intra-operative laryngospasm requiring treatment (p<0.05), oxygen saturations <90% on room air in PACU (p<0.05) and PACU stay >100 min (p<0.01) independently predicted post-operative complications. Children with any one of these factors experienced a 38% complication rate versus 4% in all others.


This pilot study identified pre- and peri-operative risk factors that collectively can be investigated as predictors of post-operative airway complications in a prospective study. By identifying preliminary results comparing the complication rates between those children with and without these risk factors, we will be able to calculate the sample size for a future prospective validation study. Such a study is necessary to understand the safety and potential significant cost savings of observing children without risk factors on the pediatric floor and not in an ICU setting. A best practice algorithm can be created for children with severe OSA only after completing this prospective study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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