Kids' Snoring Linked to Behavioral Problems
Researchers Say Parents and Doctors Need to Pay Closer Attention to Breathing During Sleep
Operate or Not?
Could the decades-long decline in tonsillectomies be partly responsible for the increased diagnoses of behavioral problems? “This is certainly a possibility,” says Bonuck’s co-researcher Ronald Chervin, MD, professor of sleep medicine and of neurology at the University of Michigan.
Recurrent throat infections used to be the main reason children had their tonsils and adenoids removed, but now the operation, called an adenotonsillectomy, is performed nearly as frequently for suspected obstructive sleep apnea, Chervin says.
Much remains to be learned about the age at which sleep apnea needs to be investigated and treated in children and the benefits of removing the tonsils and adenoids, he says.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is funding a study of nearly 500 children with obstructive sleep apnea and enlarged tonsils to help answer some of those questions. All of the children, ages 5 to 9, will get their tonsils and adenoids removed, but they are being assigned to get surgery either immediately or after seven months of “watchful waiting.” The study is expected to be completed in June.
Bonuck and Chervin’s study is posted online by the journal Pediatrics.