May 1997

Predictive Factors for Respiratory Complications After Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy in Children

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas (Dr Biavati), and the Department of Otolaryngology, University of Washington, Seattle (Dr Manning and Ms Phillips).

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997;123(5):517-521. doi:10.1001/archotol.1997.01900050067009

Objective:  To determine risk factors predictive of outcomes to aid in the cost-effective preoperative evaluation and postoperative management of patients who are undergoing tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy for obstructed breathing during sleep.

Design:  A historical cohort study with a nested case-control analysis that examined risk factors associated with postoperative respiratory complications.

Setting:  Children's Medical Center of Dallas, Dallas, Tex, which is a pediatric referral hospital for secondary and tertiary pediatric care with both private and university-appointed physicians.

Patients:  A convenience sample of 355 patients who were undergoing tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy for obstructed breathing during sleep throughout a 1-year period.

Intervention:  None.

Main Outcome Measure:  The occurrence of postoperative complications, including airway obstruction, apneas with oxygen desaturations, airway interventions (eg, endotracheal intubation), or administration of supplemental oxygen, as they related to associated medical conditions (eg, cerebral palsy or prematurity) and diagnostic tests (eg, chest x-ray film and electrocardiogram).

Results:  Five associated medical conditions (cerebral palsy; seizures; age, ≤3 years; congenital heart disease; and prematurity) were identified as important predictors of a complicated postoperative course using stepwise logistic regression analysis. Those children with an abnormal chest x-ray film or electrocardiogram were also identified as having an associated medical condition that was predictive of postoperative complications.

Conclusions:  Children with 1 or more of the associated risk factors identified should be considered candidates for postoperative inpatient observation. A preoperative chest x-ray film and electrocardiogram were found to be of little predictive value, and they are probably not cost-effective screening tests for postoperative respiratory complications.Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997;123:517-521