The results of the surgery were dramatic, even for children who had persistent OSA, Mitchell says. To go from having 40 or more incidents of interrupted breathing in a night to having only five or six that is a pretty remarkable improvement in their sleep that leads to a dramatic improvement in quality of life.
Because they do not sleep soundly, OSA can negatively affect childrens behavior, health, growth, attention, memory and classroom performance. OSA has also been linked to lower childhood IQ scores.
Not all children with sleep problems have behavioral issues before surgery, and not all behavioral problems resolve post-surgery, Dr. Mitchell emphasized. Children who score way outside normal parameters on behavioral measures benefit the most from surgery.
Obstructive sleep apnea has become a better recognized problem among children in recent years, Mitchell says. The sleep center at SSM Cardinal Glennon Childrens Medical Center, which is one of the largest sleep center dedicated exclusively for children in St. Louis, conducts approximately 600 sleep studies per year.
A sleep study monitors many body functions including brain, eye movements, muscle activity, heart rhythm and breathing during sleep. A sleep study is the only way to objectively measure OSA and is recommended by both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Thoracic Society prior to conducting a surgical procedure.
Michells research confirmed the need for preoperative sleep studies in selected children. Caregiver reports of symptoms they observed, such as snoring and restless sleep, did not correlate to the severity of OSA. In fact, the study found that only large tonsil size was related to the preoperative severity of OSA.
Mitchells research also showed the importance
|Contact: Sara Savat|
Saint Louis University