Use of Oximetry to Determine Need for Adenotonsillectomy for Sleep-Disordered Breathing


We evaluated the efficacy of adenotonsillectomy (T/A) in children with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in a controlled study using oximetry. We hypothesized that children with SDB and abnormal nocturnal oximetry in a community setting will have improved hypoxemia indices after T/A.


Children with snoring and tonsillar hypertrophy (4–10 years old) who were candidates for T/A were randomly assigned to 2 oximetry sequences (baseline and 3-month follow-up): (1) oximetry immediately before T/A and at the 3-month follow-up, which occurred postoperatively (T/A group); or (2) oximetry at the initial visit and at the end of the usual 3-month waiting period for surgery (control group). Outcomes were (1) proportion of subjects with McGill oximetry score (MOS) >1 at baseline acquiring MOS of 1 at follow-up and (2) proportion of subjects achieving oxygen desaturation (≥3%) of hemoglobin index (ODI3) <2 episodes per hour at follow-up if they had ODI3 ≥3.5 episodes per hour at baseline.


One hundred and forty children had quality oximetry tracings. Twelve of 17 (70.6%) children with MOS >1 in the T/A group and 10 of 21 (47.6%) children with MOS >1 in the control group had MOS of 1 at follow-up (P = .14). More subjects in the T/A than in the control group achieved ODI3 <2 episodes per hour at follow-up (14 of 32 [43.8%] vs 2 of 38 [5.3%]; P < .001). Three children with elevated ODI3 were treated to prevent persistently abnormal ODI3 in 1 child at follow-up.


An ODI3 ≥3.5 episodes per hour in nocturnal oximetry is related to increased resolution rate of nocturnal hypoxemia after T/A for SDB compared with no intervention.

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