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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004 Feb;158(2):153-61.

Breathing patterns in prepubertal children with sleep-related breathing disorders.

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Stanford University Sleep Disorders Clinic, 401 Quarry Road, Suite 3301, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.



To investigate abnormal breathing patterns during sleep in prepubertal children using nonstandard polysomnographic patterns in association with an apnea-hypopnea scoring technique.


Study participants included 400 children with suspected sleep-related breathing disorders and 60 control children. We analyzed clinical signs and symptoms at entry into the study and 3 months after otolaryngological treatment. We determined the frequency of predefined breathing patterns during sleep through blind analysis of polysomnograms obtained once in control subjects and twice in children referred to our clinic (before and after adenotonsillectomy), using the nasal cannula-pressure transducer system, mouth thermistor, esophageal manometry, microphone, and pulse oximetry. We also determined the relationship between breathing patterns during sleep and residual postsurgery symptoms. Further analysis was performed of symptoms and polysomnographic patterns in those children who underwent new treatment interventions due to persistence of symptoms and abnormal polysomnogram findings.


Tachypnea, persistently elevated breathing effort, progressively increased breath effort, and discrete flattening of nasal airflow monitored with the nasal cannula-pressure transducer system without oxygen saturation decreases help determine disorder as much as apneas and hypopneas. Abnormal, nonstandard breathing patterns were associated with the same symptoms as those in children with apnea and hypopnea and were more commonly present when there was incomplete resolution of initial symptoms that led treating practitioners to request further treatment.


Currently published polysomnographic scoring recommendations overlook common breathing abnormalities during sleep that are associated with clinical complaints.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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