Upper Airway Stimulation Effective in Teens With Down Syndrome, OSA

73.2 percent of patients had AHI of less than 10 events/hour at 12 months; improvement also seen in quality of life

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THURSDAY, April 21, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- For adolescents with Down syndrome and severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), upper airway stimulation is safe and effective, according to a study published online April 21 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Phoebe K. Yu, M.D., M.P.H., from Massachusetts Eye and Ear in Boston, and colleagues examined the safety and effectiveness of upper airway stimulation for adolescents with Down syndrome and severe OSA in a prospective single-group cohort study. Data were included for 42 adolescents with persistent severe OSA after adenotonsillectomy.

The researchers observed a mean decrease in the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of 12.9 events/hour among the 42 patients. With use of a therapy response definition of a 50 percent decrease in AHI, the response rate was 65.9 percent at 12 months; 73.2 percent of patients had an AHI of less than 10 events/hour at 12 months. Temporary tongue or oral discomfort was the most common complication (11.9 percent). Two patients underwent reoperation (rate, 4.8 percent). There was a mean improvement of 34.8 in the OSA-18 quality of life total score, while the mean improvement in the Epworth Sleepiness Scale score was 5.1. The mean duration of nightly therapy was 9.0 hours; 95.2 percent of patients used the device for four or more hours/night.

"Upper airway stimulation is a novel therapy option for persistent OSA in children with Down syndrome," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical and medical device industries; one author reported serving as an expert witness and receiving personal fees for legal cases related to Down syndrome.

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