Sleep Apnoea in Children

January 29th, 2015 by admin in Sleep Clinic Comments Off on Sleep Apnoea in Children

What is obstructive sleep apnoea in children?

Snoring in ChildrenObstructive sleep apnoea or OSA in children refers to breath-holding during sleep. This causes two things: a drop in blood oxygen levels and a rise in levels of carbon dioxide. As a result, your child might wake up frequently during the night.

How does sleep apnoea affect your child?

During a normal eight-hour sleep period, a child with mild to moderate OSA could wake 30-40 times. On the other hand, children with severe OSA experience 80-100 waking episodes. Additionally, oxygen levels drop to dangerously low levels.

The effect of this is two-fold. Firstly, lack of oxygen interferes with the brain’s normal growth and development. Secondly, prolonged sleep deprivation affects behaviour, learning, and quality of life.

How common is this condition?

It is difficult to pinpoint the prevalence of OSA in children. Between 1.5-6.0% of parents report their child as ‘always snoring’. Between 0.2-4% of parents report their child having instances of apnoea. Overall, about 7.5% of parents report snoring in their child.

It is more common in boys than girls, and in children that are overweight.

If you think that your child may suffer from this condition, know that you are not alone. If untreated, this condition can have very negative effects for the developing body.

What should you do if you think your child may suffer from this snoring?

If you suspect that your child has OSA, you should take your child to an ENT surgeon for further investigation. The most common cause of this condition is enlarged tonsils and adenoids.

Sometimes, the diagnosis is made clinically. Other times, your child will need a sleep study. The test is carried out overnight. It involves monitoring your child’s oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, heart rate, blood pressure, and level of sleep. A little plate is put under their nose and mouth to see how much their breathing is affected during breath holding episodes.

Sleep Apnoea in Children

How is paediatric snoring treated?

Adenotonsillectomy successfully treats 85% of cases. This involves taking out their tonsils and adenoids. This corrects the plumbing problem and opens their airway, so normal pattern of breathing and sleep can be re-established.

The other 15% of cases use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This involves putting a mask over the child’s nose and mouth. This is connected to a pump that pumps air under pressure to open up the airway during sleep.

Why Havas ENT Clinics?

Professor Havas is a leading expert on paediatric OSA in Australia. He has a many years of experience dealing with this condition and has written many papers on the topic.

For more information, download our Patient Information Brochure.

If you think your child suffers from this condition, please contact us on 02 9387 7360 to book an appointment.