Screening for pediatric obstructive sleep apnea before ambulatory surgery

Stacey L. Ishman, Kareem O. Tawfik, David F. Smith, Kristin Cheung, Lauren M. Pringle, Matthew J. Stephen, Tiffany L. Everett, Tracey L. Stierer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The American Society of Anesthesia practice guidelines recommend that pediatric and adult patients who undergo ambulatory surgery be screened for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). With this in mind, our objective was to assess the frequency of screening by anesthesia providers for the signs and symptoms of OSA in children undergoing surgery in an ambulatory setting. Methods: Prospective single-blinded observational study of anesthesia providers' preoperative interview of caregivers of consecutive patients younger than age 18 who were scheduled for ambulatory surgery. Results: One hundred one children (30 females) were identifi ed, with a mean age of 6.9 ± 5.0 years; 54 were classifi ed as white, 33 as black, and 14 as other. Total OSA-18 scores ranged from 18 to 97, with a mean of 33.1 ± 14.8. The mean score for adenotonsillectomy patients was higher than that for children who underwent procedures other than adenotonsillectomy. Thirty-one percent of children were screened for OSA, and snoring was the most common symptom recorded (28%). Patients who were screened for OSA were more likely to have snoring (p < 0.001), known OSA (p = 0.006), and a scheduled adenotonsillectomy (p = 0.02). Conclusion: OSA was not routinely screened for by anesthesia providers prior to ambulatory pediatric surgery. When screening did occur, "snoring" was the most commonly recorded symptom. Paradoxically, patients with undiagnosed OSA who would benefi t the most from screening were the least likely to be screened.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-755
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2015


  • Ambulatory
  • OSA
  • Outpatient surgery
  • Pediatric
  • Screening
  • Sleep apnea
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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