Objective: This guideline provides otolaryngologists with evidence-based recommendations for using polysomnography in assessing children, aged 2 to 18 years, with sleep-disordered breathing and are candidates for tonsillectomy, with or without adenoidectomy. Polysomnography is the electrographic recording of simultaneous physiologic variables during sleep and is currently considered the gold standard for objectively assessing sleep disorders.
Purpose: There is no current consensus or guideline on when children 2 to 18 years of age, who are candidates for tonsillectomy, are recommended to have polysomnography. The primary purpose of this guideline is to improve referral patterns for polysomnography among these patients. In creating this guideline, the American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery Foundation selected a panel representing the fields of anesthesiology, pulmonology medicine, otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, pediatrics, and sleep medicine.
Results: The committee made the following recommendations: (1) before determining the need for tonsillectomy, the clinician should refer children with sleep-disordered breathing for polysomnography if they exhibit certain complex medical conditions such as obesity, Down syndrome, craniofacial abnormalities, neuromuscular disorders, sickle cell disease, or mucopolysaccharidoses. (2) The clinician should advocate for polysomnography prior to tonsillectomy for sleep-disordered breathing in children without any of the comorbidities listed in statement 1 for whom the need for surgery is uncertain or when there is discordance between tonsillar size on physical examination and the reported severity of sleep-disordered breathing. (3) Clinicians should communicate polysomnography results to the anesthesiologist prior to the induction of anesthesia for tonsillectomy in a child with sleep-disordered breathing. (4) Clinicians should admit children with obstructive sleep apnea documented on polysomnography for inpatient, overnight monitoring after tonsillectomy if they are younger than age 3 or have severe obstructive sleep apnea (apnea-hypopnea index of 10 or more obstructive events/hour, oxygen saturation nadir less than 80%, or both). (5) In children for whom polysomnography is indicated to assess sleep-disordered breathing prior to tonsillectomy, clinicians should obtain laboratory-based polysomnography, when available.