Respiratory complications after adenotonsillectomy in high-risk children with obstructive sleep apnea: A retrospective cohort study

Margaret Ekstein, Lilach Zac, Reut Schvartz, Or Goren, Carolyn F. Weiniger, Ari DeRowe, Gad Fishman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs in 1%-4% of children; adenotonsillectomy is an effective treatment. Mortality/severe brain injury occurs among 0.6/10 000 adenotonsillectomies; in children, 60% are secondary to airway/respiratory events. Earlier studies identified that children aged <2 years, extremes of weight, with co-morbidities of craniofacial, neuromuscular, cardiac/respiratory disease, or severe OSA are at high risk for adverse post-operative respiratory events (AE). We aimed to: Firstly, investigate which risk factors were associated with AEs either in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU), pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), or both in this population. Secondly, we investigated factors associated with post-operative PICU AE despite no event in the PACU in order to predict need of post-operative PICU after their PACU stay. Methods: Retrospective study of children admitted to the PICU after adenotonsillectomy between 08/2006-09/2015. Demographics, risk factors, and occurrence of AE (oxygen saturation <92, stridor, bronchospasm, pneumonia, pulmonary edema, re-intubation) were recorded. Results: During the studied time period 4029 tonsil/adenoid procedures were performed in 3997 children. 179, admitted to the PICU post-operatively, met criteria for analysis. PICU AEs occurred in 59%: 44%-83% in any particular risk category. PACU AEs occurred in 42%. Of those with PACU events: 92% suffered AEs in the PICU; however, 35% of those without a PACU AE still suffered a PICU AE. Conclusions: Among high-risk children undergoing TA, absence of adverse events in PACU during a 2-hour observation period does not predict absence of subsequent AEs in the PICU.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-300
Number of pages9
JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • intensive care
  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • pediatric tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Respiratory complications after adenotonsillectomy in high-risk children with obstructive sleep apnea: A retrospective cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this