Physician Perspectives on Decision Making for Treatment of Pediatric Sleep-Disordered Breathing

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Abstract

Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) is prevalent in children and most commonly treated by surgery with adenotonsillectomy. We aimed to learn physician perspectives of social and communication factors that influence decision making for treatment of pediatric SDB. Purposive sampling identified 10 physician key informants across disciplines and practice settings, who participated in semistructured interviews regarding SDB care experiences and communication with parents. Interviews were analyzed using directed qualitative content analysis. Physicians provided a variety of perspectives on decision making for treatment that fell into 3 overarching themes: approach to surgery and alternatives, communication and decision making with families, and sociocultural factors/barriers to care. Perspectives were moderately heterogeneous, suggesting that individual social and relational elements may significantly influence how physicians refer patients and recommend treatment, and how parents choose surgery for this prevalent condition. These findings will inform development of culturally competent communication strategies and support tools to enhance shared decision making for physicians treating children with SDB.

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