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Clin Exp Otorhinolaryngol. 2018 Sep;11(3):199-204. doi: 10.21053/ceo.2018.00115. Epub 2018 May 18.

Effect of Adenotonsillectomy on Attention in Korean Children With Sleep-Disordered Breathing.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Chuncheon Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University College of Medicine, Chuncheon, Korea.
Institute of New Frontier Research, Hallym University College of Medicine, Chuncheon, Korea.



Pediatric sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is a common debilitating disorder that can adversely affect the attention and academic performance of school-age children. Unfortunately, only a few studies have examined the effect of SDB treatment on attention in pediatric populations. Therefore, the aim of this study was to prospectively investigate the effect of SDB treatment on attention in children.


This study consecutively enrolled SDB children with adenotonsillar hypertrophy. All subjects underwent standard-of-care treatment (adenotonsillectomy or close observation) and were evaluated using a computerized comprehensive attention test at the initial visit. Comprehensive attention tests consisted of both sustained and divided attention tasks. Each completed task was assigned an attention score, which was based on the number of omission or commission errors. The comprehension attention test was repeated 1 year later.


A total of 171 children who underwent adenotonsillectomy and 32 children who did not undergo adenotonsillectomy were included in this study. At baseline, there was no significant difference according to the score of all type comprehension attention tests between children in the adenotonsillectomy group and in the observation group. One year after treatment, children in the adenotonsillectomy group had significantly improved scores in all attention tasks. Children in the observation group had only significant improvement in omission errors on sustained attention tasks. Meanwhile, the attention score based on commission errors of divided attention tasks was significantly worse than at baseline for those.


Our study showed that adenotonsillectomy may be helpful in improving attention in children with SDB.


Adenoidectomy; Attention; Child; Sleep Apnea; Tonsillectomy

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