Post-operative complications following adenotonsillectomy in children with severe sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome. Do they need to be admitted to an intensive care unit?

Research paper by G G del-Río Camacho, M M Martínez González, J J Sanabria Brossart, E E Gutiérrez Moreno, T T Gómez García, F F Troncoso Acevedo

Indexed on: 03 Jun '14Published on: 03 Jun '14Published in: Acta Otorrinolaringologica Española


In recent years, with the rise of sleep-disordered breathing, we have been seeing more articles related to post-operative complications after adenotonsillectomy in children with sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (OSAS), especially in those with severe sleep apnea. The objective of this study was to evaluate post-operative complications in children with severe OSAS compared to children who had adenotonsillectomy for a different reason, and establish whether they needed admission to an intensive care unit or not.All children undergoing adenotonsillectomy in our hospital in the last 5 years were initially included in this study. Complications were analysed with a retrospective review.Two hundred and twenty nine children admitted for adenotonsillectomy were finally included. In the whole group, complications occurred in 3.5% of children, 2.2% corresponding to respiratory complications. Children with sleep apnea (3.23% vs 1.47%, P=.39) or severe sleep apnea (3.77% vs 1.70%, P=.32) presented a higher incidence of respiratory complications, which was not statistically significant and was far below those published by other authors. All respiratory complications took place in the immediate post-operative period (operating theatre or anaesthesia recovery), with none in the paediatric ward.In our population, children who undergo adenotonsillectomy, without any other comorbidities, malformation syndrome or neuromuscular disease, are more than 2 years old and have an immediate postoperative period without incidence, do not need to be systematically admitted to an intensive care unit, even if they present with severe OSAS.