Sleep-disordered breathing is common but hard to detect in pediatric patients

June 5, 2010

According to new research that will be presented on Saturday, June 5, at the 19th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, an estimated 18 percent of pediatric patients in a University of North Carolina-based study were at-risk for sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBD). Importantly, pediatric risk was not associated with any demographic or craniofacial characteristics, as it is in adults, making it difficult to detect.

The study included 100 children between seven and 17 years of age, of which 43 percent were male and 57 percent were female. The group was 73 percent Caucasian, 10 percent Hispanic, nine percent African American, five percent Asian, and two percent American Indian.

Researchers used a previously validated survey, the Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire (PSQ), to estimate the risk of SRBD. Each patient's parent or guardian completed the PSQ for his or her child. A score of 0.33 suggested risk for SRBD. Results indicated that 18 percent of the participants were at risk for .

Orthodontic records including information on craniofacial characteristics were obtained for each patient. The researchers looked for an association between risk for SRBD and craniofacial features. They also examined the effect of gender, race, age, and on SRBD risk. No significant associations were found for either demographic or craniofacial characteristics.

"We were surprised that our findings suggested that the risk for pediatric sleep disordered breathing was as high as it was, since our review of the literature suggested that the prevalence of pediatric was one to three percent. We speculate that either our sample size was too small, or that additional factors contribute to the condition in children," said principle investigator Kristen Fritz.

Early diagnosis of pediatric SRBD is critical because signs and symptoms often lead to misdiagnosis of as other clinical conditions such as attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

SRBD are serious conditions with major health-related consequences for children. This study alerts health care providers to the fact that it is not possible to predict risk for SRBD by looking at certain demographic or craniofacial characteristics in children.

"Screening tools such as the PSQ, or specific inquiry about suspected risk factors such as snoring, sleepiness or behavioral problems, offer dentists who treat children an opportunity to recognize, educate and refer pediatric patients that may be at risk for SRBD," said Fritz.

Explore further: Child sleep breathing problems studied

Related Stories

Study links ADHD with sleep problems in adolescents

May 1, 2009

A study in the May 1 issue of the journal SLEEP shows that adolescents with a childhood diagnosis of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are more likely to have current and lifetime sleep problems and disorders, ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.