All kids should be screened for snoring, and those who do snore regularly should be screened for sleep apnea, according to recently released recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“It is important for children exhibiting signs of OSAS [obstructive sleep apnea syndrome] to get a comprehensive diagnosis by having an overnight, in-laboratory sleep study done,” the AAP said in a release. “If left untreated, OSAS can result in problems such as behavioral issues, cardiovascular problems, poor growth and developmental delays.”
The recommendations come from an analysis of 350 past studies on the subject. They are published in the journal Pediatrics.
Children who have adenotonsillar hypertrophy — the No. 1 cause of obstructive sleep apnea in kids, according to a 2003 study — should have their tonsils and adenoids removed, according to the recommendations.
MedicalNewsToday reported in 2004 on a study showing that tonsil and adenoid removal — known as adenotonsillectomy — is being done more and more for the purposes of obstructive sleep apnea, versus tonsil infection. In fact, nine in 10 tonsil and adenoid removal surgeries are done for sleep apnea reasons.
If a child receives tonsil and adenoid removal surgery for sleep apnea, but still has signs of the condition, he or she should then undergo continuous positive airway pressure, according to the new recommendations.
But for kids who snore who don’t have adenotonsillar hypertrophy, nasal corticosteroid medications should be used, the recommendations said. And if kids who snore are obese or overweight, weight loss could help to relieve symptoms.