Tonsillectomy in Children with Down Syndrome: A National Cohort of Inpatients

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017 Sep;157(3):499-503. doi: 10.1177/0194599817711377. Epub 2017 Aug 1.


Objective To describe the cost, length of stay, and incidence of postoperative hemorrhage associated with Down syndrome (DS) patients undergoing tonsillectomy in a national sample of inpatient children. Study Design This study uses a national cross-sectional cohort to analyze children with and without DS undergoing tonsillectomy with or without adenoidectomy. Setting 2012 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Kids' Inpatient Database. Subjects and Methods The database was analyzed for postoperative hemorrhage and respiratory compromise, length of stay, and total charges of hospital stay. These outcomes were compared between patients with DS vs patients without DS. Results In total, 7512 patients were identified who underwent tonsillectomy: 7159 patients without DS and 353 patients with DS. The non-DS group was younger with a median age of 3 years (range, 0-18) compared with a DS median age of 4 years (range, 0-20), P = .004. The DS group had a significant increase in postoperative hemorrhage compared with non-DS (10 [2.8%] vs 87 [1.2%], respectively), P = .024. However, the DS and non-DS groups were comparable for respiratory complications (5 [1.4%] vs 106 [1.5%], respectively), P = .922. Median length of stay was significantly increased in the DS group (1 [interquartile range (IQR), 1-3]) compared with the non-DS group (1 [IQR, 1-2]), P < .001. Median charges for hospital stay totaled $17,451 (IQR, $11,901-$24,949) for the DS group compared with $14,395 (IQR, $9739-$21,890) for the non-DS group, P < .001. Conclusion Across the United States, children with DS hospitalized for tonsillectomy have an increased length of stay and cost of care. These data also suggest an increased risk of postoperative hemorrhage during the initial admission without an increased risk of respiratory complications.

Keywords: Down syndrome; KID; adenotonsillectomy; tonsillectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Down Syndrome / complications*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Postoperative Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / surgery*
  • Tonsillectomy*
  • United States
  • Young Adult