• Vol. 37 No. 8, 715–721
  • 15 August 2008

Cardiovascular Changes in Children with Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea



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Introduction: Adults with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) are well documented to be at high risk for cardiovascular abnormalities. Growing evidence suggests that OSA is also associated with cardiovascular consequences in children. The purpose of this review is to examine the available data on this association in children.

Methods: Primary studies were extracted from a MEDLINE search limited to those published between 1970 and 2008. The keywords used included child, sleep disordered breathing, sleep apnoea, snoring, blood pressure and hearts. The relevant articles were selected by consensus between 2 authors.

Results: The results suggested that OSA was consistently associated with hypertension. Meta-analysis of risk of hypertension in those with high apnoea-hypopnoea index was undertaken. A combined odds ratio equal to 3.15 was found (95% confidence interval, 2.01 to 4.93). There was evidence for increased sympathetic activation, decreased arterial distensibility and ventricular hypertrophy in children with OSA.

Conclusion: Childhood OSA is associated with blood pressure dysregulation. The association of OSA with other cardiovascular morbidities requires further study in view of the limited data available currently.

Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) is a spectrum of diseases ranging from primary snoring to obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). A recent review suggested that the prevalence of childhood OSA diagnosed by varying criteria was 1% to 4%.

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