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Sleep Studies May Help Predict Complications in Common Pediatric Surgery

Washington, DC– Having a sleep study prior to a common surgery may help predict if a patient is at risk for a respiratory complication after the surgery, according to research from Children’s National Medical Center. The study reviewed adenotonsillectomies, surgery to remove adenoids and tonsils.

The study, published in the January 2011 issue of Archives of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, looked at 151 patients who underwent a sleep study prior to surgery. Of those, 15 percent had a respiratory complication. A majority of the patients who underwent a sleep study had a preexisting condition.

“Currently, there are no standards of care in determining which patients should receive a sleep study prior to surgery; it’s up to the surgeon,” said Sukgi Choi, MD, a pediatric otolaryngologist at Children’s National. “This research helps identify at-risk patients so that we can take steps during and after surgery to ensure that children at higher risk for complications are carefully managed.”

The study found that patients who had respiratory complications had several common factors, including:

  • Higher apnea-hypopnea index
  • Higher hypopnea index
  • Higher body mass index (BMI)
  • Lower nadir oxygen saturation

“This surgery is one of the most common pediatric procedure in the country” said pediatric otolaryngologist Rahul Shah, MD, one of the authors. “We are always looking for ways to make surgeries safer for our patients, and this study provides us with another tool to do so.”

The Division of Otolaryngology at Children’s National Medical Center is one the largest and most prestigious pediatric programs in the country. Each year, the team of seven board-certified, fellowship-trained physicians treats more than 14,000 children.

Contact Emily Dammeyer or Paula Darte, Children's National public relations: 202-476-4500.

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