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OBSTRUCTION OF THE AIRWAY BY ENLARGED TONSILS AND ADENOIDS—OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNOEA SYNDROME OF CHILDHOOD Introduction

Where the tonsils and adenoid become exceptionally large in early childhood, they may cause interference with breathing while the child is asleep. This may lead to significant lack of oxygenation of the blood overnight, and there is potential for the development of serious complications, including high pressure in the pulmonary blood vessels (pulmonary hypertension) and the development of strain or failure of the right side of the heart. Fortunately these complications are rare, but obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome in children is treated seriously. Severe upper-respiratory obstruction occurring at night can occasionally cause respiratory arrest and even death.