A shared decision-making tool for obstructive sleep apnea without tonsillar hypertrophy: A randomized controlled trial

Mathieu Bergeron, Angela L. Duggins, Aliza P. Cohen, Karin Tiemeyer, Lisa Mullen, Joseph Crisalli, Angela McArthur, Stacey L. Ishman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: Shared decision-making is a process whereby patients and clinicians jointly establish a treatment plan integrating clinical evidence and patient values and preferences. Although this approach has been successfully employed in numerous medical disciplines, often using shared decision-making tools, otolaryngologic research assessing its use is scant. Our primary objective was therefore to determine if the tools we developed reduced decisional conflict for children with obstructive sleep apnea without tonsillar hypertrophy. Study Design: Prospective, single-blind, randomized controlled trial. Methods: We enrolled consecutive patients meeting inclusion criteria who were referred to our multidisciplinary upper airway center. Study patients used a shared decision-making tool whereas controls did not. Measures of decisional conflict (SURE [Sure of myself, Understanding information, Risk benefit ratio, Encouragement], CollaboRATE, and the Decisional Conflict Scale [DCS]) were obtained pre- and postvisit. Results: We assessed 50 families (study group = 24, controls = 26). The mean age was 8.8 ± 6.6 years, 44% were female, 86% were white, and the mean obstructive apnea-hypopnea index was 12.7 ± 15.6 events/hour. The previsit mean DCS score was similar for controls (42.7) and study patients (40.8) (P =.38). The postvisit mean DCS score for controls was 13.3 and for study patients 6.1 (P =.034). Improvement in this score was greater in the study group (P =.03). At previsit evaluation, 63% of controls and 58% of study patients were unsure about their options. Postvisit, this improved to 4.1% and 0%, respectively. Conclusions: Families counseled regarding treatment options using shared decision-making tools had significantly less decisional conflict than those who did not use these tools. These positive outcomes suggest that clinicians should consider integrating this approach into clinical practice. Level of Evidence: 1b. Laryngoscope, 128:1007–1015, 2018.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1007-1015
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • decision aids
  • decisional conflict
  • infant
  • pediatric
  • persistent
  • shared decision making
  • shared decision making tools
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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