Sleep Study Recommended for Young Down Syndrome Kids

Many have obstructive sleep apnea, but parents' views of sleep patterns don't match polysomnography results

TUESDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Obstructive sleep apnea is common in young children with Down syndrome, but parents' impressions of sleep problems do not correlate with the findings of overnight polysomnography (PSG), according to a study in the April issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology--Head & Neck Surgery. The authors recommend baseline PSG be conducted on all 3- and 4-year-olds with Down syndrome.

Sally R. Shott, M.D., of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio, and colleagues studied 65 children with Down syndrome to evaluate otolaryngologic problems, of whom 56 completed overnight PSG between 4 and 5 years of age. Parents also filled out questionnaires about their impressions of the child's sleep patterns.

Fifty-seven percent of the children had abnormal results and evidence of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome; the figure for abnormal results rose to 80 percent if an elevated arousal index was included. Although 69 percent of parents reported no sleep problems in their children, 54 percent of their children's PSGs had abnormal results. Conversely, of the parents who reported sleep problems, their opinion was supported by abnormal PSG results in only 36 percent of cases.

"Because there is a high incidence of sleep disorders in children with Down syndrome, baseline studies, using full overnight PSG, are recommended even if the parents report no sleep problems in their child," the authors conclude.

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