|Volume 6 Issue 18 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 18-Jan-2004 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 19-Jan-2004-Jan-2004||Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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A simple, noninvasive upper airway test can help identify, while awake,children with sleep-disordered breathing
A simple, noninvasive upper airway test, performed while a youngster is awake, could provide more accurate identification of children with sleep-disordered breathing, according to a study in the second issue for January 2004 of American Thoracic Society's peer-reviewed American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
In their study, the investigators measured the upper airway cross-sectional area of 247 children who snored. All children tested were between the ages of 4 and 16, and were otherwise healthy.
Snoring is the cardinal symptom that raises a physician's suspicion of sleep-disordered breathing. That problem affects 11 percent of children from ages 2 to 8. But sleep disordered breathing is hard to diagnose, except through an overnight sleep test. This experience imposes a substantial burden on the child and his or her parents, according to the researchers.
The non-invasive procedure studied permits the evaluation of a cross-sectional area of the upper airway as a function of the distance from the mouth during both wakefulness and sleep. This approach permits identification of the collapsible segment of the airway in awake children during obstructive events which cut off air in those with disordered breathing.
Administration of a topical anesthetic in the upper airway removed local reflexes that promote airway patency (openness) during wakefulness. From their tests, the researchers discovered that the children's airways were smaller in sleep-disordered breathing patients, and that upper airway collapsibility and sleep-disordered breathing severity were "markedly" and "significantly greater" in such children.
The study appears in the second issue for January 2004 of the American Thoracic Society's peer-reviewed American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.