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Pediatrician. 1990;17(1):46-51.

Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome in children.

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Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, Calif.


Partial or complete repetitive obstructions of the upper airway during sleep give rise to clinical symptoms associated with heavy, chronic snoring. The number of obstructive sleep apneas during the night may be less important than the repetitive inspiratory increases in upper airway resistance, even if these are associated only with a partial airway collapse. Oxygen saturation may not be severely affected by partial occlusion during nocturnal recording, although clinical symptoms may occur. Esophageal pressure measurements and breathing frequency during sleep are key features in the polygraphic evaluation of prepubertal children. Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy may be helpful in treating children with small upper airway during sleep. The marked interaction between upper airway adequacy and craniofacial morphology make it critical to evaluate the impact of partial or complete airway occlusion during sleep on facial prognathism. Nasal continuous positive airway pressure is a safe treatment for persistent, partial or complete upper airway occlusion during sleep, but it does not address the mandibular deficiency often seen in symptomatic children. Orthodontic evaluation and treatment may make maxillomandibular surgery unnecessary during the pubertal years.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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