Long-term changes in quality of life after surgery for pediatric obstructive sleep apnea

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2004 Apr;130(4):409-12. doi: 10.1001/archotol.130.4.409.


Objective: To study long-term changes in quality of life in children after adenotonsillectomy for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) documented by polysomnography.

Design and setting: Prospective study of children with OSA at the University of New Mexico Children's Hospital, Albuquerque.

Methods: Children who met inclusion criteria underwent adenotonsillectomy. Caregivers were asked to complete the OSA-18 quality of life survey prior to surgery (survey 1), within 7 months after surgery (short-term) (survey 2), and between 9 and 24 months after surgery (long-term) (survey 3). Scores from the preoperative and postoperative surveys were compared using the paired t test.

Results: The study population included 34 children, 27 (79%) of whom were male. The mean age of the children at the time of inclusion in the study was 6.7 years (range, 3.0-16.8 years). The mean total score for survey 1 (76.7) was significantly higher (P<.001) than the mean total score for survey 2 (32.0) or for survey 3 (40.9). However, the domains of sleep disturbance and physical suffering were significantly lower (P<or=.005) in survey 2 than in survey 3. The differences in the domains of emotional distress, daytime problems, and caregiver concerns between survey 2 and survey 3 were not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Caregivers perceive a long-term improvement in quality of life after adenotonsillectomy for OSA although these improvements are more pronounced in the short-term than in the long-term and are not uniform across all domains of the OSA-18 survey.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoidectomy / psychology*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New Mexico
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Polysomnography
  • Postoperative Complications / psychology*
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / psychology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / surgery*
  • Tonsillectomy / psychology*