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Pediatr Pulmonol. 2011 Nov;46(11):1047-54. doi: 10.1002/ppul.21497. Epub 2011 Aug 1.

Interactions of obstructive sleep-disordered breathing with recurrent wheezing or asthma and their effects on sleep quality.

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Department of Pulmonology and Sleep Disorders Laboratory, University of Thessaly School of Medicine and Larissa University Hospital, Larissa, Greece.


Snoring is the most characteristic symptom of obstructive sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and recurrent wheezing is the most common clinical manifestation of asthma. The purpose of the present review is to outline the impact of SDB and recurrent wheezing/asthma on sleep quality and to summarize the epidemiologic and pathophysiologic evidence supporting an association between the two disorders. Enlarged tonsils and adenoid or obesity predispose to obstructive sleep apneas and hypopneas which are accompanied by arousals, restless sleep, and frequently daytime sleepiness, inattention, hyperactivity, and academic difficulties. Subjects with history of wheezing are also at risk for sleep disturbance and daytime cognitive dysfunction. Asthmatic children have more frequent snoring, apneas, and hypopneas during sleep than non-asthmatic subjects and tonsillar hypertrophy mediates at least in part this epidemiologic association. In addition, preliminary evidence indicates that treatment of sleep apnea with adenotonsillectomy results in improved control of coexisting asthma. Elevated concentrations of leukotrienes and oxidative stress markers have been detected in the exhaled breath condensate of children with asthma and probably contribute to bronchoconstriction. Moreover, sleep apneic children have increased expression of leukotrienes and leukotriene receptors in adenotonsillar tissue. Viral respiratory infections may induce inflammation and oxidative stress in the asthmatic airway enhancing not only bronchospasm, but also biosynthesis of leukotrienes within pharyngeal lymphoid tissues, which promote adenotonsillar enlargement and sleep apnea. In conclusion, taking under consideration the epidemiologic association between obstructive SDB and asthma, when one of the two disorders is diagnosed, the possibility of the other disease being present should be entertained. Pediatr. Pulmonol. 2011; 46:1047-1054.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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