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J Am Dent Assoc. 2013 Mar;144(3):269-77.

Craniofacial morphological characteristics in children with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Division of Orthodontics, Department of Dentistry, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, 5-528 Edmonton Clinic Health Academy, Edmonton, AB T6G 1C9, Canada.



The authors conducted a systematic review to consolidate the current knowledge regarding craniofacial morphological characteristics associated with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) in nonsyndromic pediatric patients.


The authors included clinical studies in which participants were younger than 18 years, polysomnography was performed to determine the presence and severity of OSAS and the study group was compared with a control group or normative growth center data. The authors excluded studies with syndromic participants or participants who had received orthodontic treatment, orthognathic treatment or both previously.


The authors identified nine articles. They conducted a meta-analyses of the data from all but one of the studies to evaluate the eight most common cephalometric variables in children with OSAS. The I(2) values were 79.53 percent for the angle from the basion point to the sella nasion (SN) line, 89.54 percent for the angle between the SN and palatal plane lines and 96.82 percent for the angle between the mandibular plane and SN lines (MP-SN). Therefore, for these three variables, the authors conducted a random-effect model meta-analysis. For the remaining five variables (MP-SN, the angle from SN to Apoint, the angle from SN to B point [SNB], the angle from A point to nasion point to B point [ANB] and the angle from articulare point to gonion point to gnathion point), I(2) values were all less than 40 percent, and therefore the authors conducted a fixed-effects model meta-analysis. Three of the evaluated cephalometric variables (MP-SN, SNB and ANB) had statistically significant differences in comparison with those in a control group. Although the values of these variables were increased in children with OSAS, results of the meta-analysis should be considered cautiously owing to the limited number of cephalometric variables included.


Dentists who identify patients with a craniofacial morphology consistent with pediatric OSAS (retrusive chin, steep mandibular plane, vertical direction of growth and a tendency toward Class II malocclusion) should inquire further into their patients' medical histories. When the craniofacial morphology is accompanied by a history of snoring, inability to breathe through the nose, significant allergies, asthma or obesity, the dentist should refer the patient to an otolaryngologist for assessment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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