Sleep Med Psychophysiol.  2008 Dec;15(2):94-99.

A Case of Child with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome Recurred after Adenotonsillectomy

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Eulji University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Eulji University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Eulji University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


The most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) in childhood is adenotonsillar hypertrophy. Adenotonsillectomy improves the symptoms quite well in most cases. However, some patients could experience the OSAS again after adenotonsillectomy, who might have several risk factors such as incomplete operation, misdiagnosis, combined anatomical malformation, sinusitis or chronic allergic rhinitis, obesity, initial severe OSAS, and early onset OSAS. We report a case of 11-year-old obese boy who presented with snoring for several years. He was obese with body mass index (BMI) of 26.3 kg/m2 and also found to have fatty liver by ultrasonogram. Initial polysomnography (PSG) showed that he met the criteria of severe OSAS with the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of 70.5. He underwent adenotonsillectomy and symptoms improved immediately. Four months later symptoms were relieved with AHI of 0, but 1 year after the adenotonsillectomy he started to complain snoring again and the subsequent PSG results showed that OSAS has relapsed with AHI of 43. Paranasal sinus X-ray and physical examination showed sinusitis and re-growth of adenoid. Obesity was proved not to be a contributing factor because his BMI decreased to normal range (23.1 kg/m2) after diet control and regular exercise. Also, liver transaminase was normalized and fatty liver was disappeared on follow-up abdominal ultrasonogram. After treatment of sinusitis, symptoms were relieved with decreased AHI (8.5). This case suggests that simple adenotonsillectomy might not be the end of OSAS treatment in childhood. Patients who had adenotonsillectomy should be followed by subsequent PSG if symptoms recur. It is also important to be aware of risk factors in the recurrent OSAS for the proper intervention according to the cause.


Child, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome; Adenotonsillectomy; Polysomnography
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