Incidence and Risk Factors Associated with Respiratory Compromise in Planned PICU Admissions Following Tonsillectomy

Inbal Hazkani*, Eli Stein, Tey Ching Siong, Robert Hill, Jacob Dautel, Mital D. Patel, William Vaughn, Holly Cordray, Eshan Patel, Addison Clark, Nikhila Raol, Sean Evans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: Review the incidence and factors associated with respiratory compromise requiring intensive care unit level interventions in children with planned admission to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) following tonsillectomy or adenotonsillectomy (T/AT). Study design: Retrospective cohort study. Methods: Review of all patients with PICU admissions following T/AT from 2015 to 2020 at a tertiary care pediatric hospital. Patient demographics, underlying comorbidities, operative data, and respiratory complications during PICU admission were extracted. Results: Seven hundred and seventy-two patients were admitted to the PICU following T/AT, age 6.1 ± 4.6 years. All children were diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea or sleep-disordered breathing (mean pre-operative apnea-hypopnea index 29 ± 26.5 and O2 nadir 77.1% ± 11.1). Neuromuscular disease, enteral feed dependence, and obesity were common findings (N = 240 (31%), N = 106 (14%), and N = 209 (27%) respectively). Overall, 29 patients (3.7%) developed respiratory compromise requiring PICU-level support, defined as new-onset continuous or bilevel positive airway pressure support (n = 25) or reintubation (n = 9). Three patients were diagnosed with pulmonary edema. Multivariable regression analysis demonstrated pre-operative oxygen nadir and enteral feed dependence were associated with respiratory compromise (OR = 0.97, 95% CI 0.94-0.99, P =.04; OR = 6.3, 95% CI 2.36-52.6, P =.001 respectively). Conclusions: Our study found respiratory compromise in 3.7% of patients with planned PICU admissions following T/AT. Oxygen nadir and enteral feeds were associated with higher respiratory compromise rates. Attention should be given to these factors in planning for post-operative disposition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)777-782
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • adenotonsillectomy
  • positive airway respiratory support
  • re-intubation
  • respiratory compromise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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