Effects of an Adenotonsillectomy on the Cognitive and Behavioural Function of Children Who Snore: A naturalistic observational study

Khalid Al-Zaabi, Samir Al-Adawi, Sanjay Jaju, Lakshmanan Jeyaseelan, Nasser Al-Sibani, Mohammed Al-Alawi, Mohammed Al-Abri, Rashid Al-Abri


Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate cognitive and behavioural changes among 9–14-year-old Omani children with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) after an adenotonsillectomy (AT). Methods: This naturalistic observational study was conducted at the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Muscat, Oman, between January 2012 and December 2014. Omani children with adenotonsillar hypertrophy (ATH) underwent overnight polysomnography and those with confirmed OSA were scheduled for an AT. Cognitive and behavioural evaluations were performed using standardised instruments at baseline prior to the procedure and three months afterwards. Results: A total of 37 children were included in the study, of which 24 (65%) were male and 13 (35%) were female. The mean age of the males was 11.4 ± 1.9 years, while that of the females was 11.1 ± 1.5 years. Following the AT, there was a significant reduction of 56% in mean apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI) score (2.36 ± 4.88 versus 5.37 ± 7.17; P <0.01). There was also a significant positive reduction in OSA indices, including oxygen desaturation index (78%), number of desaturations (68%) and number of obstructive apnoea incidents (74%; P <0.01 each). Significant improvements were noted in neurocognitive function, including attention/concentration (42%), verbal fluency (92%), learning/recall (38%), executive function (52%) and general intellectual ability (33%; P <0.01 each). There was a significant decrease of 21% in both mean inattention and hyperactivity scores (P <0.01 each). Conclusion: These results demonstrate the effectiveness of an AT in improving cognitive function and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder-like symptoms among children with ATH-caused OSA. Such changes can be observed as early as three months after the procedure.

Keywords: Adenoidectomy; Obstructive Sleep Apnea; Cognitive Function; Behavior; Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders; Children; Oman.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18295/squmj.2018.18.04.005


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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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