Sleep-disordered breathing in children: survey of current practice

Laryngoscope. 2006 Jun;116(6):956-8. doi: 10.1097/01.MLG.0000216413.22408.FD.


Objectives: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends objective testing with polysomnography (PSG) before adenotonsillectomy for sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in children. Several studies have also shown that a clinical diagnosis correlates poorly with the presence or severity of SDB as confirmed by PSG. The purpose of this study was to examine surgical practice patterns among members of the American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngologists (ASPO).

Methods: A questionnaire was sent electronically to all members of ASPO asking about demographics, PSG facilities, and pre- and postoperative management of children with SDB.

Results: A total of 245 questionnaires were sent, and 105 (43%) were completed. The results of the survey show that up to 50% of pediatric visits in individual practices were for SDB. Only 10% of children who underwent adenotonsillectomy had PSG, and the most common reason to request it was doubt about diagnosis. The average wait for PSG was 3 to 6 weeks. Preoperative PSG was routinely requested in children under 1 year of age and children with morbid obesity, craniofacial abnormalities, or neuromuscular disease. The majority of pediatric otolaryngologists proceeded with an adenotonsillectomy in symptomatic children with normal PSG findings. Postoperative PSG was requested in less than 5% of children. Approximately 20% of children who underwent adenotonsillectomy for suspected SDB were observed overnight in hospital.

Conclusions: A majority of respondents from this survey rely on a clinical diagnosis rather than PSG to recommend an adenotonsillectomy for SDB in children. PSG was generally used when the diagnosis was in doubt.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoidectomy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Infant
  • Otolaryngology
  • Palatine Tonsil / pathology
  • Pediatrics
  • Polysomnography
  • Postoperative Period
  • Preoperative Care
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / etiology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / surgery*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tonsillectomy*