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Arch Dis Child. 2019 Mar;104(3):275-279. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2018-315064. Epub 2018 Aug 2.

Effect of a 1-week intense myofunctional training on obstructive sleep apnoea in children with Down syndrome.

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Sleep Medicine, Department of Neonatology, University of Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany.
Therapiezentrum Iven, Baiersbronn, Germany.



Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is common in children with Down syndrome (DS), yet difficult to treat. As muscular hypotonia of the upper airway may cause OSA and is also common in DS, we tested whether intense myofunctional therapy improves OSA in children with DS.


Forty-two children underwent cardiorespiratory sleep studies immediately before and after a 1-week intensive training camp consisting of three daily 45 min sessions of myofunctional exercises according to Padovan. Primary outcome was the mixed-obstructive-apnoea/hypopnoea index (MOAHI), secondary outcomes the ≤3% oxygen desaturation index (DI3), the ≤90% desaturation index (DI90) and the lowest pulse oximeter saturation (SpO2nadir).


Eighteen recordings had ≥3 hours of artefact-free recording in both the pretreatment and post-treatment sleep study and were therefore included in the analysis. Mean age was 6.3 years (SD 2.5); 83% had OSA prior to intervention. Mean MOAHI was 6.4 (SD 8.6) before and 6.4 (SD 10.8) after the intervention (p>0.05); the DI3 and SpO2nadir also did not change. Only the DI90 decreased significantly from 2.7 (SD 4.5) to 2.1 (SD 3.7) (p<0.05).


The 1-week intense myofunctional training camp evaluated here in children with DS had only a marginal effect on OSA. Whether a longer follow-up period or duration of intervention would yield stronger effects remains to be determined.


functional treatment; myofunctional exercises; obstructive sleep apnoea; trisomy 21

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