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Adenoid surgery no use for recurrent URTIs

Surgery to remove the adenoids is no better than a watchful waiting strategy in children with recurrent upper respiratory tract infections, a new study concludes.

Dutch researchers investigated 111 children between the ages of one and six who had been selected for adenoidectomy who were assigned to either surgery within six weeks, or watchful waiting, and followed up for 24 months.

Children in the adenoidectomy group had 7.9 episodes of upper respiratory tract infections per person year, compared with 7.8 episodes in the watchful waiting group, a non-significant difference in incidence rate of 0.07.

The proportion of children with a URTI per week decreased similarly over time in both groups.

Study leader Professor Anne Schilder, professor of pediatric ENT surgery at the UMC Utrecht, said that the results suggest ‘the contribution of surgery to the favourable natural course of upper respiratory tract infections is trivial.'

BMJ 2011, online 6 September