Tongue surgeries for pediatric obstructive sleep apnea: a systematic review and meta-analysis
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To evaluate the international literature for studies reporting outcomes for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in children undergoing isolated tongue surgeries.
Two authors searched from inception through November 14, 2016 in four databases including PubMed/MEDLINE.
351 studies were screened. Eleven studies (116 children) met criteria. Most children were syndromic and had craniofacial disorders, co-morbidities, or other serious medical issues. Surgeries included base-of-tongue (BOT) reduction (n = 114), tongue suspension (n = 1), and hypoglossal nerve stimulation (n = 1). The pre- and post-BOT reduction surgeries decreased apnea–hypopnea index (AHI) from a mean (M) and standard deviation (SD) of 16.9 ± 12.2/h to 8.7 ± 10.6/h (48.5% reduction) in 114 patients. Random effects modeling (109 patients) demonstrated a standardized mean difference for AHI of −0.78 (large magnitude of effect) [95% CI −1.06, −0.51], p value <0.00001. For BOT surgery in 53 non-syndromic children, the AHI decreased 59.2% from 14.0 ± 11.4 to 5.7 ± 6.7/h, while in 55 syndromic children, the AHI decreased 40.0% from 20.5 ± 19.1 to 12.3 ± 18.2/h. BOT reduction improved lowest oxygen saturation from M ± SD of 84.7 ± 7.4–87.9 ± 6.5% in 113 patients. Hypoglossal nerve stimulation and tongue-base suspension are limited to case reports.
Most children undergoing tongue surgeries in the literature were syndromic and had craniofacial disorders, co-morbidities, or other serious medical issues. Children with a body mass index <25 kg/m2 and non-syndromic children have had the most improvement in AHI. The specific type of surgery must be tailored to the patient. Patients with co-morbidities should undergo treatment in centers that are equipped to provide appropriate perioperative care.
KeywordsChildren Obstructive sleep apnea Tongue Systematic review Meta-analysis
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there is no competing interest.
There was no funding for this review.
The Tripler Army Medical Center Investigational Review Board provided approval for this meta-analysis.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.
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