Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Researchers Recommend Sleep Study for Children Undergoing Surgery

We have already discussed that sleep apnea can significantly increase a person's risk for anesthesia complications. One of the tools recently implemented for identifying adults with sleep apnea risk is the STOP-BANG questionnaire. Now researchers have noted that children with sleep apnea are also at a greater risk for anesthesia-related complications and therefore should be screened before surgery, especially tonsils and adenoid surgery.

The children who were most likely to experience post-surgical complications had several factors in common, including:

  • Higher apnea-hypopnea index
  • Higher hypopnea index
  • Higher body mass index (BMI)
  • Lower oxygen saturation at lowest point

There are currently no standards of care that indicate whether children should be screened for obstructive sleep apnea before undergoing surgery. This study suggests that perhaps there should be. The article recommends that using a sleep study to identify at-risk patients before surgery so that surgeons can plan optimal postoperative procedures to avert or identify complications.

We often think of obstructive sleep apnea as an adult condition, but a large number of children also suffer from this potentially deadly condition, which may manifest itself during the day in symptoms like ADHD, mood disorders, behavioral problems, lethargy, and other generic symptoms. If you would like to learn more about childhood sleep apnea, how to identify it, and how to treat it, please contact a local sleep dentist today.

posted by Dr. Candelaria at 1:49 PM