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Obstructive sleep apnea in children

Childhood obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is characterized by recurrent episodes of partial or complete upper airway obstruction during sleep. The disease encompasses a continuum from primary snoring (a benign condition without physiological alterations or associated complications) to increased upper airway resistance, obstructive hypoventilation and OSAS. The prevalence of snoring is high, ranging from 1.5% to 15%, depending on how it is defined. Based on parent-reported questionnaires and complementary tests, the prevalence of OSAS is 1-4%. This syndrome is more common in boys, overweight children, of African ancestry, with a history of atopy and prematurity. The most common symptoms are snoring that is frequent and loud; family-reported apnea; and restless sleep. The physical examination should assess growth status, signs of chronic upper airway obstruction, and craniofacial malformations. Overnight polysomnography is the gold standard test for the diagnosis and for the determination of the appropriate positive pressure level, as well as for postsurgical treatment evaluation. Intermittent hypoxia and multiple arousals resulting from obstructive events contribute to the well-described cardiovascular, neurocognitive, and behavioral consequences in pediatric patients with OSAS. Although the main treatment for OSAS in children is adenotonsillectomy, treatment with CPAP or Bilevel is becoming more widely used in the pediatric population.

Sleep apnea syndromes; Continuous positive airway pressure; Tonsillectomy; Snoring

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