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Tonsil removal may up flu, asthma risk

Press Trust of India  |  Melbourne 

Removing tonsils and adenoids in childhood increases the risk of like asthma, and pneumonia, say scientists who have examined the long-term effects of these common paediatric for the first time.

The researchers suggest renewed evaluation of alternatives to these that include removal of tonsils (tonsillectomy) to treat chronic or adenoids (adenoidectomy) to treat

The adenoids and tonsils are strategically positioned in the nose and throat respectively to act as a first line of defense, helping to recognise airborne pathogens like bacteria and viruses, and begin the immune response to clear them from the body.

Researchers from in Australia and in analysed a dataset from of 1,189,061 children born between 1979 and 1999, covering at least the first 10 years and up to 30 years of their life.

Of the almost 1.2 million children, 17,460 had adenoidectomies, 11,830 tonsillectomy and 31,377 had adenotonsillectomies, where both tonsils and adenoids removed. The children were otherwise healthy.

"We calculated risks depending on whether adenoids, tonsils or both were removed in the first 9 years of life because this is when these tissues are most active in the developing immune system," said from

The analysis showed that tonsillectomy was associated with an almost tripled relative risk for of the upper respiratory tract.

These included asthma, influenza, and or COPD, the umbrella term for such as and

Adenoidectomy was found to be linked with a more than doubled relative risk of and a nearly doubled relative risk of and

The absolute risk was also almost doubled for but corresponded to a small increase for COPD, as this is a rarer condition in the community generally.

"The association of tonsillectomy with respiratory later in life may therefore be considerable for those who have had the operation," said from

The team delved deeper into the statistics to reveal how many operations needed to be performed for a to occur at a greater rate than normal, known as the number needed to treat or NNT.

"For tonsillectomy, we found that only five people needed to have the operation to cause an to appear in one of those people," said Boomsma.

The study suggests that shorter-term benefits of these may not continue up to the age of 30 apart from the reduced risk for (for all surgeries) and sleep (for adenoidectomy).

Instead, the longer-term risks for abnormal breathing, and were either significantly higher after or not significantly different.

The researchers note that there will always be a need to remove tonsils and adenoids when those conditions are severe.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, June 10 2018. 17:45 IST