Teenage and Childhood Snoring And Apnoea

Thu, Mar 17, 2011
An excellent article is available at eMJA (the electronic version of the Medical Journal of Australia) regarding childhood and teenage sleep disorders (covering all sleep disorders, not just sleep disordered breathing). Some of the case histories, in particular, make fascinating and informative reading.

It’s a lengthy article which covers many areas, so it’s worth a visit to get the full message. If you haven’t the time, the key points are:

* There are strong associations between childhood sleep disorders and behavioural, concentration and mood problems

* Sleep disorders in children are common. A study of sleep disturbances in children found up to 25% of children may have behavioural sleep disorders at some stage

* Epidemiological studies have shown a relationship between sleep disorders and significant behavioural difficulties.

You can read the full article here. The article correctly identifies sleep disordered breathing as particularly harmful and refers to another paper, titled Investigation and treatment of upper-airway obstruction: childhood sleep disorders I — MJA 2005; 182: 419-423 for further information.

This recommended article is again worth a visit, with the key points being:

* The consensus view is that OSAS affects about 3% of children, with 8%–12% snoring most nights

* Severe upper-airway obstruction in children is known to result in developmental delay, growth failure and cor pulmonale

* Over the past 20 years, an extensive body of literature has detailed the effects of adult OSAS (obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome) on daytime functioning. The areas affected include verbal and non-verbal intelligence, memory, attention, concentration, and executive functioning (ie, flexible analytical and problem-solving ability) and psychosocial functioning.

* The potential for similar effects in children was largely unstudied until a decade ago. There is now mounting evidence that disruption of children’s sleep architecture (ie, the normal pattern and sequence of stages of sleep) by repetitive episodes of hypoxia and arousal may result in similar deficits

* The behavioural aspects most consistently reported include aggression, hyperactivity, inattention, anxiety and shyness, while learning, memory and executive functioning are the neurocognitive areas most affected

* A direct relationship between the severity of OSAS in children and the resultant neurocognitive deficits has also been demonstrated

* The more controversial issue is that of snoring without significantChildhood sleep disorders changes in blood gas levels (primary snoring). This results from vibration of the soft tissues of the upper airway, and implies some degree of obstruction, albeit mild. Recent studies suggest that primary snoring may not be as innocuous as previously thought, with learning, neurocognitive and behavioural deficits being described in snoring children. For example, continuous snoring without intermittent hypoxia was found to be significantly associated with poor academic performance in mathematics (odds ratio [OR], 3.3), science (OR, 2.9), and spelling (OR, 4.5)

The article states that polysomnogram (overnight sleep study) is the ‘gold standard’ for the proper diagnosis of sleep disordered breathing conditions. While The Sleep Therapy Clinics do not currently provide treatment for pre-adolescent patients, we DO provide sleep studies for young patients. If you would like to arrange a sleep study for your child / teenager, or if you simply want more information, call during business hours on 1300 246 637.