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Allergic Rhinitis and Residual Sleep Disordered Breathing in Children undergoing Adenotonsillectomy

Researchers: Prof Stuart MacKay, Dr Andrew Jones, Dr Terry Sands and SueEllen Holmes.

Purpose of the Research

This is an invitation to participate in an Illawarra ENT Head and Neck Clinic study aimed at understanding why some children have residual sleep disordered breathing and related symptoms after A&T, and investigating a possible link to allergic rhinitis. As the term ‘sleep disordered breathing’ suggests, some of these symptoms could include: snoring, gasping, and poor or restless sleep due to difficulty breathing. Disrupted sleep in children has been linked to neurocognitive, behavioural and cardiovascular risk. Allergic rhinitis is a very common, treatable condition in children that involves sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, stuffy head and other symptoms which diminish quality of life.

What is involved?

As directed by your ENT surgeon, Professor Stuart MacKay, your child requires removal of adenoids and tonsils (A&T). As part of standard clinical treatment, you will be asked to complete two short questionnaires at your child’s first consultation and six weeks after surgery to document your child’s allergy and sleep symptoms, and the impact these have on everyday functioning. In the case where allergy testing is clinically indicated, we are asking for access to the blood test results and questionnaire scores, including information from your child’s medical records on other health conditions, weight, age and sex.

If there is no clinical indication that your child suffers from allergic rhinitis, we would still like to proceed with blood testing for this condition, as well as completion of the questionnaires afterwards (all patients normally complete the questionnaires before as part of taking a routine medical history). As above, we are asking for access to the blood test results and questionnaire scores, including information from your child’s medical records on any other health conditions, weight, age and sex. If a clinical reason for allergy testing is not suggested via family history, symptoms or the standard medical exam, we will pay for the allergy testing and you will not be charged for this test.

All of this information will be made available to you and discussed at length as part of your child’s ongoing care in consultation with Professor Stuart MacKay. There is no pain involved in collecting the blood because a small sample is taken while your child is asleep in the operating theatre. All other costs related to surgery will proceed in accord with your wishes for either Private or Public health care for your child. Any information provided by you will conform to legal obligations for privacy and confidentiality, and the storage of medical records. Blood tests are conducted in accord with strict legally binding procedures and no samples are kept beyond allergen testing.


The information will help tailor treatments for children whose sleep symptoms do not resolve after A&T, for which alternatives in care are unclear. It is important to assess all children undergoing A&T to understand why some children have better outcomes. Improving sleep disordered breathing by addressing outstanding allergies after A&T can reverse cardiovascular and neurocognitive risk.

Who can particpate?

The study is open to all children aged between 0-16 years-old undergoing adenotonsillectomy.

If I have any enquiries about the research or would like to volunteer, please contact reception at Illawarra ENT Head and Neck Clinic on 02 42261055.

Approved HREC Number ISLHD HE16/155

Sleep Health Foundation
ABN: 91 138 737 854
Suite 114, 30 Campbell Street, Blacktown, NSW, 2148
T: (02) 8814 8655 F: (02) 9672 3884