Current clinical guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends adenotonsillectomy (T&A) as the first-line treatment for pediatric OSA. However, obese children experience a decreased incidence of cure from T&A compared to non-obese children, with obesity increasing risk of residual post-operative OSA by up to 3.7-fold. In addition to obesity, increased age has also been linked to more severe baseline OSA, among other factors. In this study, we examined how age effects the post-operative outcome in obese children with OSA.
A retrospective chart review was performed to assess post-operative T&A polysomnography outcomes of obese children. Inclusion criteria included patients who were 17 years old and younger, underwent T&A, were obese and had both pre- and post-operative sleep studies. The patients were split into 3 different groups based on their age: Group 1 (0-6 years old), Group 2 (7-11 years old), and Group 3 (12-17 years old).
55 patients were included in the study: 13 in Group 1, 20 in Group 2, and 22 in Group 3. For Groups 1, 2, and 3 respectively, data averages were BMI percentile 99.20, 98.49, and 98.92 (P = 2.77); z-score 2.79, 2.36, and 2.45 (P = 0.026), tonsil size 3.17, 3.15, and 3.23 (P = 0.898), adenoid size 2.42, 2.05, and 1.77 (P = 0.015), time between the preoperative and postoperative PSG 179, 240, and 202 days (P = 0.481), and time from surgery to postoperative PSG 126, 170, and 127 days (P = 0.544). The average preoperative oAHI was 52.56, 41.23, and 43.49 (P = 0.732), post-operative oAHI was 1.94, 4.79, and 4.44 (P=.417); and change in oAHI was 50.62, 36.44, and 39.25 (P = 0.617). When comparing the age group of 0-6-year-olds to the older remaining patients, the post-operative oAHI was the only variable to show a significant difference between the two-groups with a P value of 0.038. The percentage of patients with post-operative resolution of OSA (oAHI<2), mild, moderate, and severe OSA, respectively, were 53%, 29%, 9%, and 9% for all patients, 70%, 23.1%, 7%, and 0% for group 1; 50%, 35%, 5%, and 10% for group 2; and 45%, 27%, 13%, and 13% for group 3. The percent of the patients requiring post-surgical nighttime airway support were 18%, 7%, 15%, and 26% for Groups All, 1, 2, and 3, respectively.
We found that despite having the highest rates of obesity and the most severe OSA, obese patients under 7 years old performed better following T&A, with greater cure rate, overall reduction of oAHI, and decreased need for post-surgical nighttime airway support.

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