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Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

UH Pediatric Sleep Doctors Offer Specialized Treatments for Childhood Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The Pediatric Sleep Center at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital provides the latest advancements in medical treatments for childhood snoring and sleep apnea, a serious condition that causes the child to start and stop breathing periodically during sleep.

More Than Nighttime Noise

About 10 percent of children have frequent snoring, the most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). OSAS affects 2 to 4 percent of children and can cause breathing trouble at night. Children are at highest risk for OSAS if they have conditions such as:

  • Asthma
  • Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
  • Exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Nasal allergies
  • Obesity
  • A family history of sleep apnea or other chronic health problems

If left untreated, over time OSAS can result in:

  • Attention problems
  • Behavioral concerns
  • Learning difficulties
  • Growth issues
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart problems
  • Increased risk for accidents

Any child or teen that snores should undergo a more thorough sleep study to determine their risk for sleep apnea, according to guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Sleep Apnea Assessment

While most children with sleep apnea snore, not every snoring child has sleep apnea. To find out whether a child is at risk for sleep apnea, doctors at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Pediatric Snoring Center may ask the following questions:

  • Does the child snore at least three nights a week?
  • Does the child gasp or snort during the night?
  • Does the child have difficulty paying attention?
  • Is the child sleepy during the day?
  • Does the child have behavioral problems?

During sleep, a parent may notice that a child’s breathing starts and stops; this is called apnea. This stoppage of breathing is caused when the throat narrows or even closes during sleep. Children with sleep apnea may be drowsy during the daytime hours or hyperactive.

Making the Apnea Diagnosis

Doctors at UH Pediatric Sleep Center provide sleep tests (polysomnogram) for children who may be at risk for sleep apnea. The overnight sleep test is monitored by sleep technicians that are specially trained to monitor sleep and breathing patterns in children of all ages, even children with complicated medical conditions. Sleep apnea runs in families, so if parents or grandparents have sleep apnea, then children are more likely to have it, too.

Multidisciplinary Team Approach

Pediatric sleep disorders such as child sleep apnea, insomnia, and narcolepsy can have a number of causes, which is why UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Pediatric Sleep Center takes a multidisciplinary approach to diagnosing and treating sleep disorders in children. Along with our Pediatric Sleep Center physicians, other specialists are called upon to diagnose and treat a child’s sleep disorder, including:

  • Allergy and immunologists
  • Cardiologists
  • Child life specialists
  • Craniofacial specialists
  • Development and behavioral pediatricians
  • Dentists and orthodontists
  • Endocrinologists and specialists in childhood obesity
  • Gastroenterologists
  • Geneticist
  • Neonatologists
  • Nephrologists
  • Neurologists and/or specialists in children’s epilepsy
  • Otolaryngologists (ENT)
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Pulmonologists
  • Rheumatologists
  • Surgeons
  • Urologists