- To compare the effect of adenotonsillectomy on rapid eye movement (REM)- and non-REM-related respiratory and sleep architecture characteristics in children with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). This prospective study evaluated 36 children (median age, 6.9 years; range, 1.8 to 12.6 years) with OSAS using polysomnography before and a few months after adenotonsillectomy. Primary outcomes included the number of obstructive apnea and hypopnea and arousals per hour of sleep. At 4.6 months (range, 1 to 16 months) after adenotonsillectomy, there was a significant improvement of all respiratory parameters. The median respiratory disturbance index (RDI) decreased from 4.1/h (range, 0 to 85/h) to 0.9/h (range, 0 to 13/h) after adenotonsillectomy (p < 0.0001). The median non-REM RDI decreased from 3.0/h (range, 0 to 89/h) to 0.4/h (range, 0 to 13/h) [p < 0.001] as compared with REM RDI, which decreased from 7.8/h (range, 0 to 69/h) to 2.3/h (range, 0 to 54/h) after adenotonsillectomy (p < 0.01). Median arousal index decreased following adenotonsillectomy from 17.5/h (range, 7 to 57/h) to 14.0/h (range, 6 to 47/h) [p < 0.03]. Adenotonsillectomy resulted in a greater improvement in non-REM RDI as compared with REM-RDI, and a decrease in the number of arousals.