Some children may experience complete resolution of obstructive sleep apnea as they transition to adulthood, but persistent disease is more likely in those with certain characteristics, according to data published in CHEST.
The researchers conducted a longitudinal analysis of a prospective community-based cohort that was established for an OSA prevalence study. The cohort, which was established between 2003 and 2005, included 619 children aged 6 to 13 years. Of these participants, 243 participants (59% boys) completed 10-year follow-up. Mean age was 9.8 years at baseline and 20.2 years at follow-up.
At baseline, the obstructive apnea-hypopnea index (OAHI), which counted the total number of apneas or hypopneas per hour, was used to characterize the disease. OSA was defined as OAHI of more than one event per hour; mild OSA was defined as OAHI of one to five events per hour; and moderate to severe OSA was defined as OAHI of five events or more per hour. Disease remission was defined as having an OAHI of fewer than one event per hour at follow-up.
At follow-up, 30% of children with mild OSA at baseline had complete remission; 69% of those with mild OSA at baseline had an OAHI of fewer than five events per hour; 57% of those with moderate to severe OSA at baseline had persistent disease; and 22% of all participants had OSA with an OAHI of five events or more per hour. Those who achieved complete remission were more likely to be girls.