Obstructive sleep apnea is common in obese children who have enlarged tonsils and adenoids.
To determine if treatment of obstructive sleep apnea by tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy will result in normalization of an obese child's weight, as it does in underweight children, and as it does with other signs and symptoms.
Retrospective cohort study. We recorded weight and height changes after tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy and compared changes of the obese and morbidly obese patients with those of the other patients.
A tertiary care inner-city hospital.
Children (n=45) who underwent tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy for obstructive sleep apnea in 1994-1995; their mean (±SD) age was 4.9 ± 2.4 years at operation.
At the time of surgery, 25 children were of normal weight; 3, underweight; 7, obese; and 10, morbidly obese. Postoperatively, 31 children (69%), including 10 of the 17 who were obese or morbidly obese, had substantial weight gain: the z score ± SD for weight of the entire group increased from 1.37 ± 2.49 to 2 ± 2.27 (P<.001). The mean z score ± SD for height increased from 0.03 ± 1.08 to 0.58 ± 0.94 (P<.001). The body mass index (BMI or Quetelet index): calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters increased in 28 patients (62%) (P=.004).
Treating obstructive sleep apnea by tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy is associated with increased gain in height, weight, and body mass index in most children, including the obese and morbidly obese.