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Sleep Breath. 2018 Dec;22(4):1197-1205. doi: 10.1007/s11325-018-1734-3. Epub 2018 Oct 15.

Persistent sleep disordered breathing after adenoidectomy and/or tonsillectomy: a long-term survey in a tertiary pediatric hospital.

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Clinique d'orthodontie majeure, Faculté de médecine dentaire, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada.
Service d'Oto-Rhino-Laryngologie, CHU Sainte-Justine, Montréal, Canada.
Clinique d'orthodontie majeure, Faculté de médecine dentaire, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada.
Dentistry University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
Centre de recherche, CHU Sainte-Justine, Montréal, Canada.



To determine the long-term prevalence of persistent sleep disordered breathing (SDB) in children, after adenoidectomy, tonsillectomy or adenotonsillectomy, and to assess the relationship between baseline characteristics and persistent nocturnal symptoms.


The clinical charts of children operated for adenoidectomy and/or tonsillectomy in a tertiary hospital, between January 2000 and March 2016, were retrospectively reviewed. All patients who had signs of SDB prior to surgery received a six-question validated pediatric questionnaire, the Hierarchic Severity Clinical Scale (HSCS).


A total of 4000 children showing SDB prior to surgery were selected out of 5809 (68.9%); 1176 parents returned the questionnaire (29.4%), with a mean age at surgery of 4.3 ± 2.2 and age at survey of 9.6 ± 3.6. Complete resolution of SDB was subjectively reported in 798 patients (67.9%), and mild SDB was suspected in 301 children (25.6%, HSCS > 0 with chronic snoring), while 77 (6.5%) had a HSCS > 2.72, suggesting persistent obstructive sleep apnea. In non-syndromic children, male sex, history of sole adenoidectomy, or sole tonsillectomy, and early age of surgery (< 2 years-old) were associated with higher HSCS scores (p < 0.05). Moreover, symptoms had a tendency to decrease from 1 to 6 years, re-occur at age 7-8, and also after 13, with boys reporting more severe symptoms, at a younger age.


Surgical excision of lymphoid tissue to treat SDB in childhood seems to be effective in the long term in two-thirds of subjects, while partial surgeries, specific age groups and early surgery are more likely to have persistent or recurrent symptoms.


Adenoidectomy; Adenotonsillectomy; Child; Obstructive sleep apnea; Questionnaire; Sleep disordered breathing


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