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Adenoidectomy can improve obstructive sleep apnoea in young children: systematic review and meta-analysis

  • L K Reckley (a1), S A Song (a1), E T Chang (a1), B B Cable (a1), V Certal (a2) (a3) and M Camacho (a1)...



To systematically search for studies reporting outcomes for adenoidectomy alone as a treatment for paediatric obstructive sleep apnoea and use the data to perform a meta-analysis.


Nine databases, including PubMed and Medline, were systematically searched through to 1 April 2016. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement was followed.


A total of 1032 articles were screened and 126 full texts were reviewed. Three paediatric studies (47 patients) reported outcomes. Overall, apnoea–hypopnoea index values decreased from 18.1 ± 16.8 to 3.1 ± 5.5 events per hour (28 patients). Random-effects modelling demonstrated a mean difference of −14.43 events per hour (I2 = 23 per cent (low inconsistency)). The apnoea–hypopnoea index standardised mean difference was −1.14 (large magnitude of effect). The largest reduction in apnoea–hypopnoea index was observed in children aged less than 12 months (reduction of 56.6−94.9 per cent). Lowest oxygen saturation values improved from 80.0 ± 9.5 to 85.5 ± 6.0 per cent (13 children).


Adenoidectomy alone has improved obstructive sleep apnoea in children, especially in those aged less than 12 months; however, given the low number of studies, isolated adenoidectomy remains an area for additional research.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr Lauren K Reckley, Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, Tripler Army Medical Center, 1 Jarrett White Road, Honolulu, HI 96859, USA E-mail:


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