Adenotonsillectomy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Quality of Life: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017 Nov;157(5):767-773. doi: 10.1177/0194599817717480. Epub 2017 Jul 4.


Objective To determine the impact of adenotonsillectomy on the quality of life of pediatric patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and to identify gaps in the current research. Data Sources The MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases were systematically searched via the Ovid portal on June 18, 2016, for English-language articles. Review Methods Full-text articles were selected that studied boys and girls <18 years of age who underwent adenotonsillectomy for OSA or sleep-disordered breathing and that recorded validated, quantitative quality-of-life outcomes. Studies that lacked such measures, performed adenotonsillectomy for indications other than OSA or sleep-disordered breathing, or grouped adenotonsillectomy with other procedures were excluded. Results Of the 328 articles initially identified, 37 were included for qualitative analysis. The level of evidence was generally low. All studies involving short-term follow-up (≤6 months) showed improvement in quality-of-life scores after adenotonsillectomy as compared with preoperative values. Studies involving long-term follow-up (>6 months) showed mixed results. Modifications to and concurrent procedures with conventional adenotonsillectomy were also identified that showed quality-of-life improvements. Three studies were identified for meta-analysis that compared pre- and postoperative Obstructive Sleep Apnea-18 scores. Short- and long-term follow-up versus preoperative scores showed significant improvement ( P < .001). Short- and long-term scores showed no significant difference. Conclusion This systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrate adenotonsillectomy's effectiveness in improving the quality of life of pediatric patients with OSA. This is well demonstrated in the short term and has strong indications in the long term.

Keywords: OSA-18; adenotonsillectomy; meta-analysis; obstructive sleep apnea; quality of life; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoidectomy*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / surgery*
  • Tonsillectomy*