A student’s work reported by Medical Xpress discusses the difficulty of diagnosing OSA in children.
Obstructive sleep apnoea affects 5 to 6 per cent of all children of preschool age, causing the repeated cessation of breathing during sleep. If the condition remains untreated, it can interfere with brain development and cause complications such as learning difficulties and behavioural disorders with ADHD-like symptoms. In extreme cases it can even lead to heart failure.
The diagnostic method currently seen as the best for obstructive sleep apnoea in children is polysomnography, but it is a resource-heavy examination that has to be carried out in a sleep laboratory. Because of this, doctors have often relied on the combination of clinical examination and questionnaire (OSA-18) to make their diagnoses. However, as Dr Borgström – ear, nose and throat specialist and researcher at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology – demonstrates in her thesis, the questionnaire has no diagnostic value.
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