Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children
Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is a condition in which a child’s airway is partially or completely obstructed during sleep; it is often associated with snoring and breathing pauses. OSAS occurs in 1% to 3% of otherwise healthy children. It is most prevalent between ages 2 and 7 years but is also seen in infants and adolescents.
While asleep, does your child…
• Have pauses in breathing?
• Gasp for air?
• Have restless sleep?
• Sleep in unusual positions (i.e., hyperextended neck)?
• Breathe through his/her mouth?
• Wet the bed?
Also, Does your child…
• Have difficulty waking in the morning?
• Experience daytime sleepiness in school?
• Exhibit hyperactivity or inattention?
• Show a decrease in school performance or have trouble concentrating in class?
• Have morning headaches?
• Have unexplained high blood pressure?
• Have poor growth?
If you answer “yes” to even one of these questions, you may want to talk with your family physician or pediatrician about your child’s sleep patterns.
The main risk factors for OSAS are:
1. Enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids
3. Enlarged tongue, small jaw, and other craniofacial abnormalities
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:
1. Pediatricians should assess all their patients for the presence of snoring.
2. All children who snore on a regular basis (on all or most nights) or have other
symptoms of OSAS should be evaluated for the presence of OSAS.
3. An overnight polysomnogram (sleep study) is the best way to accurately differentiate between those children who have OSAS and those who exhibit harmless snoring.