Oropharyngeal exercises to reduce symptoms of OSA after AT



This study evaluated the efficacy of oropharyngeal exercises in children with symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSA) after adenotonsillectomy.


Polysomnographic recordings were performed before adenotonsillectomy and 6 months after surgery. Patients with residual OSA (apnea-Hypopnea Index, AHI > 1 and persistence of respiratory symptoms) after adenotonsillectomy were randomized either to a group treated with oropharyngeal exercises (group 1) or to a control group (group 2). A morphofunctional evaluation with Glatzel and Rosenthal tests was performed before and after 2 months of exercises. All the subjects were re-evaluated after exercise through polysomnography and clinical evaluation. The improvement in OSA was defined by ΔAHI: (AHI at T1 − AHI at T2)/AHI at T1 × 100.


Group 1 was composed of 14 subjects (mean age, 6.01 ± 1.55) while group 2 was composed of 13 subjects (mean age, 5.76 ± 0.82). The AHI was 16.79 ± 9.34 before adenotonsillectomy and 4.72 ± 3.04 after surgery (p < 0.001). The ΔAHI was significantly higher in group 1 (58.01 %; range from 40.51 to 75.51 %) than in group 2 (6.96 %; range from −23.04 to 36.96 %). Morphofunctional evaluation demonstrated a reduction in oral breathing (p = 0.002), positive Glatzel test (p < 0.05), positive Rosenthal test (p < 0.05), and increased labial seal (p < 0.001), and lip tone (p < 0.05).


Oropharyngeal exercises may be considered as complementary therapy to adenotonsillectomy to effectively treat pediatric OSA.

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Ethical standards

Informed consent was obtained from parents, and the study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Sant’ Andrea Hospital.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Maria Pia Villa.

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Villa, M.P., Brasili, L., Ferretti, A. et al. Oropharyngeal exercises to reduce symptoms of OSA after AT. Sleep Breath 19, 281–289 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11325-014-1011-z

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  • Children
  • Oropharyngeal exercises
  • Residual OSA
  • Adenotonsillectomy