Sleep disturbances, including obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), are common in children and can result in significant health problems if left untreated.
In a revised clinical practice guideline, “Diagnosis and Management of Childhood Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome,” published in the September 2012 Pediatrics (published online August 27), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children or adolescents who snore regularly be screened for OSAS.
Additional symptoms can include labored breathing during sleep, disturbed sleep with frequent gasps, snorts or pauses, and daytime learning problems. It is important for children exhibiting signs of OSAS to get a comprehensive diagnosis by having an overnight, in-laboratory sleep study done.
If left untreated, OSAS can result in problems such as behavioral issues, cardiovascular problems, poor growth and developmental delays. Treatments are available that can result in significant improvements in these complications. Adenotonsillectomy is effective in treating OSAS and is recommended as the first line of therapy. Obesity can be a risk factor, so physicians may recommend weight loss in addition to other therapies in overweight or obese children. Post-operatively, physicians should be aware of the criteria suggesting which patients should be admitted and when other treatment should be considered, such as CPAP.
Healthy Children Radio: Childhood Sleep Disorders (Audio)
Sleep disturbances, including obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, are common in children and can result in significant health problems if left untreated. Treatments are available that can result in significant improvements in these complications.
Pediatric pulmonologist Carole L. Marcus, MD, lead author of AAP guidelines on sleep apnea, comes on the Healthy Children radio show to talk about these common problems.
Segment 1: Should You Worry if Your Child Snores?
Segment 2: Tonsilectomies to Treat Sleep Apnea