AHRQ Studies: Tonsillectomy Provides Some Benefit to Children With Throat Infections, Sleep-Disordered Breathing
Two articles recently published in Pediatrics found tonsillectomy to be of short-term benefit to children with recurrent throat infections or sleep-disordered breathing. The articles are based on an AHRQ-funded systematic review. In the first article, authors compared tonsillectomy with watchful waiting and found that throat infections and school absences declined in the year following surgery, as did the number of health care visits for sore throat and throat infections. In the first year post-surgical year, children who had tonsillectomies had an average 1.7 episodes of sore throat or throat infection compared with 2.9 episodes for those who did not undergo surgery. However, the benefits of surgery waned over time and information on long-term outcomes was limited. Access the abstract of the article. In the second article, authors found that among children with sleep-disordered breathing, those who had tonsillectomies had better sleep outcomes than those who engaged in watchful waiting. Researchers cautioned, however, that less is known about longer-term outcomes or treatment effects in specific subpopulations. Access the abstract of that article. Two additional articles on tonsillectomy based on the systematic review, one on postoperative bleeding, the other comparing full vs. partial tonsillectomy, were published in the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.