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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2002 Jun 1;165(11):1499-503.

Utility of noninvasive pharyngometry in epidemiologic studies of childhood sleep-disordered breathing.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals of Cleveland, OH, USA.


Measurement of pharyngeal dimensions may contribute to the characterization of anatomic risk factors for sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in children. Acoustic pharyngometry, a noninvasive method, has been used successfully in adults, but application in children has been limited. We sought to evaluate the feasibility and utility of this technique in children, including assessment of the variation of pharyngeal measurements with height, sex, ethnicity, prematurity, and indices of SDB. Subjects were drawn from a large, community-based cohort of children of age 8-11 years. Demographic, morphologic, and sleep-related information were collected via standard questionnaires, direct measurement, and home cardiorespiratory monitoring during sleep. Pharyngeal dimensions were assessed in 203 children using acoustic pharyngometry performed with an optimized mouthpiece. In this sample, the coefficient of variation of minimum pharyngeal cross-sectional area (CSA) and mean CSA were similar to those in adults (8.0 and 11.1%, respectively). The minimum CSA, but not mean CSA, was significantly reduced in preterm children, habitual snorers, and children with SDB relative to unaffected children. Thus, minimum CSA is a useful measure for evaluating SDB risk factors in preadolescent children.

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