Pediatric obstructive sleep apnea and quality of life: a meta-analysis

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2008 Mar;138(3):265-273. doi: 10.1016/j.otohns.2007.11.003.


Objective: 1) To assess the quality of life (QOL) in children with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) compared with QOL of children with chronic medical conditions, and 2) To determine QOL in children with OSA after adenotonsillectomy in short- and long-term follow-up. DATA SOURCES/REVIEW METHODS: A literature review on QOL in pediatric OSA using the PubMed database.

Results: The literature search yielded 10 articles that satisfied inclusion and exclusion criteria. In three studies, the Child Health Questionnaire (CHQ) survey was used to compare 193 patients who had OSA with 93 children who had juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) and with 815 healthy children. Of 12 CHQ subscale scores for children with OSA, 8 scores were significantly lower (indicating a poorer QOL) than controls. Children with OSA scored 19.23 points lower than healthy children in the subscale of parental impact-emotional. Children with OSA had QOL scores that were similar to those of children with JRA. In seven publications, 369 children with OSA undergoing adenotonsillectomy were studied by using the OSA-18 QOL instrument. The total OSA-18 score and each of the domain scores showed significant improvement (P < 0.0001) after adenotonsillectomy. At long-term follow-up, QOL scores remained significantly improved.

Conclusions: Pediatric OSA has a significant impact on QOL. QOL in pediatric OSA is similar to that of children with JRA. Large improvements in QOL occur after adenotonsillectomy, and these findings are maintained in the long-term. The literature lacks control studies on QOL in pediatric OSA.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adenoids / surgery
  • Child
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive* / surgery
  • Tonsillectomy
  • Treatment Outcome