• Vol. 37 No. 8, 701–705
  • 15 August 2008

Diagnosis and Evaluation of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea in Children

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: The aim of this article is to review the medical literature and describe clinical and laboratory findings in children with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) to differentiate children with OSA from those with primary snoring or other disorders, with a particular focus on Asian children.

Methods: Medline search via Pub Med, search terms sleep apnoea and children; and sleep apnoea and children and Asian.

Results and Conclusions: Children with OSA usually present with snoring, daytime sleepiness, and/or difficulties in school or behaviour. The prevalence of OSA in Asian children is less than that of other groups, but the severity of the disorder on presentation may be greater. Overnight polysomnography remains the diagnostic “gold standard”; limited studies, or studies in the home, are not sufficient to exclude OSA in a child with suggestive symptoms, nor can they reliably assess the severity of the disorder which is important in planning treatment. Limited studies may, however, be useful in large-scale research studies.


Children with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) may present with nocturnal and/or diurnal symptoms. The history is best obtained from parents, or siblings who share a bedroom, since the child is often unaware of what happens when he or she is asleep.

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