Paediatric adenotonsillectomy for sleep disordered breathing (SDB) is amongst the commonest surgical procedures performed in ENT. In the outpatient clinic, parents routinely express their concern about their child’s breathing but the impact of sleep disordered breathing on the parent is not often considered. This team in London, Ontario, investigated the impact of adenotonsillectomy on parental sleepiness using pre and postoperative Epworth Sleepiness Scores (ESS) and Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index (PSQI).
They included 47 parents in their study and found a statistically significant improvement in parental sleep quality using both ESS and PSIQ. They also reported an improvement in the child’s quality of life following surgery as measured by the Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Quality of Life Survey (OSA-18).
Although mean preoperative ESS scores were within the normal range (8.2) the statistically significant improvement of 2.1 points does invite further enquiry into the impact of a child’s sleep disordered breathing on their parents sleep quality. While the impact of adult SDB on bed partners is well established, this study suggests that the phenomenon may extend to parents of children with SDB. However, as sleep quality is affected by multiple factors including stress and anxiety, the observed improvement in parental sleep quality may simply be a result of reduced parental concerns from their children sleeping better. Nonetheless this study provides the reader with an opportunity to reflect on the wider impacts of paediatric pathology on parents and caregivers