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Seeking Sound Slumber for Children

New test pinpoints obstructive sleep apnea in kids

THURSDAY, Jan. 8, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A new way to identify obstructive sleep apnea in children has been developed by researchers at McGill University Health Centre.

The Canadian scientists report on their work in the January issue of Pediatrics.

The test uses dips in blood oxygen levels associated with sleep-related airway blockage to detect the worst cases of sleep apnea. Those children can then be fast-tracked for surgery to correct the condition.

"This new method of diagnosing sleep apnea and of prioritizing treatment schedules is a significant advance. Now we can detect, treat and cure the worst cases of sleep apnea in just a few days where previously children had to wait months, if diagnostic facilities were even available," Dr. Robert Brouillette, a professor of pediatrics at McGill, says in a prepared statement.

About 1 percent to 3 percent of children have sleep apnea, which can cause growth problems and delay development. Once diagnosed, it can be usually be treated by removal of the tonsils and adenoids. Diagnosis usually requires a detailed evaluation and considerable waiting time.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about sleep apnea.

SOURCE: McGill University, news release, January 2004
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