Sleep-disordered breathing in children has been associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), hyperactive behaviour, academic problems, bedwetting, learning disabilities, sleepiness during the day, headaches and other complaints.
Julie L. Wei, M.D., of the University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, and colleagues studied 117 children (average age 6.5) who were diagnosed with sleep-disordered breathing and who underwent adenotonsillectomy (removal of the tonsils and adenoids, tissue at the back of the throat). Parents completed surveys about their children's sleep and behavior before and six months after surgery.
Among the 71 children who completed the six-month follow-up, scores for sleep problems and behavioural difficulties were significantly lower after six months than before surgery. This included reductions in cognitive (thinking, learning and memory) problems, hyperactivity, oppositional behaviour and ADHD symptoms.
The researchers also found correlations between sleep and behaviour scores before and after surgery.
"Not only did both behaviour and sleep improve independently before and after adenotonsillectomy for sleep-disordered breathing in our group of patients, but they also improved in correlation with each other," the authors note.
The report is published in the October issue of Archives of otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals