An observational pragmatic quality-of-life study on paediatric tonsillectomy and waiting for surgery

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Purpose: To investigate parental perceptions of the effects of tonsillectomy on their child’s quality of life while awaiting and following surgery in an Australian public health system. 

Methods: An observational pragmatic study was undertaken at a tertiary Australian hospital. Parents of paediatric patients (2–16 years of age) listed for tonsillectomy completed a validated quality-of-life questionnaire (T-14 Paediatric Throat Disorders Outcome Test) at the initial consultation, on day of surgery, 6 weeks post-operatively and 6 months post-operatively. T-14 scores were compared using the Related-Samples Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test. 

Results: Parents of 167 children participated in this study. There was a median wait time of 174 days (IQR 108–347) from the initial consultation until the day of surgery, with no significant change in median T-14 scores (35 [IQR 22–42] vs 36 [IQR 22–42]; n = 63; p > 0.05). There was a significant decrease from pre-operative T-14 scores to 6 weeks post-operatively (33.5 [IQR 22–42] vs 2 [IQR 0–5]; n = 160; p < 0.001), and this was sustained with a minor improvement at 6 months post-operatively (6 weeks 2 [IQR 0–5] vs 6 months 0 [IQR 0–2]; n = 148; p < 0.001). 

Conclusions: Paediatric tonsillectomy improves quality of life with a sustained benefit in the long term. There is no improvement to the patient’s quality of life while awaiting tonsillectomy, thus patient welfare can be improved through reducing waiting times for surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)885-890
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Issue number2
Early online date22 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • Child
  • Quality of life
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Sleep disordered breathing
  • Tonsillectomy
  • Tonsillitis


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