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Removing Tonsils Helps Kids With Sleep Apnea, Brigham and Women's Hospital Study


5/22/2013 7:15:57 AM

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Adenotonsillectomy, or the removal of the adenoids and tonsils, is performed 500,000 times a year in the United States, often as a treatment for children with obstructive sleep apnea. However, the procedure's ability to improve a child's attention and executive functioning, behavior, sleep apnea symptoms, and quality of life has not been rigorously evaluated until now. A study led by Susan Redline, MD, MPH, director of the Program in Sleep and Cardiovascular Medicine and Associate Clinic Director of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital finds that early adenotonsillectomy in children with mild to moderately severe sleep apnea does not improve attention and executive functioning when compared to watchful waiting with supportive care. However, the study also found that early adenotonsillectomy can be beneficial in improving behavior, sleep apnea symptoms and quality of life. The research will be presented at the American Thoracic Society's International Conference and published online in the New England Journal of Medicine on May 21.

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