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J Paediatr Child Health. 1999 Feb;35(1):49-54.

Clinical versus polysomnographic profiles in children with obstructive sleep apnoea.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine, Mater Children's Hospital, South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.



To examine the clinical and polysomnographic (PSG) profiles of neurologically normal and abnormal children with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and explore the relationship between these profiles.


We enrolled 56 children with persistent snoring and OSA for the study, 16 of whom were neurologically abnormal. All children were examined clinically and attended an overnight PSG study. Total clinical scores, PSG scores, and mild/moderate or severe ratings were derived for each child.


Comparison of individual PSG parameters with neurological status demonstrated that the abnormal children had significantly increased obstructive apnoea indices, increased desaturation events and lower mean arousal indices compared to their neurologically normal OSA peers. For the neurologically abnormal children, there was a significant correlation between severity ratings of disease according to clinical and PSG profiles (r = 0.56, P = 0.03, sensitivity 82%) using the clinical summary as the gold standard, although the association was less marked in the neurologically normal children (r = -0.08, P = NS, sensitivity 69%).


Neurologically abnormal children are likely to have more severe abnormalities in selected polysomnographic indices and overall scores. However, the clinical assessment is only likely to reflect this at the severe end of the spectrum. These relationships are not seen in the neurologically normal child, where little or no reliance can be placed upon predicting the severity of the polysomnographic findings from the clinical data. Decisions regarding the severity of disease and treatment should be based on the combined findings of the clinical and PSG data rather than overall clinical and polysomnographic scores or selected clinical and polysomnographic parameters.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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