Obstructive Sleep Apnea: When Breathing Stops in a Child’s Sleep


Obstructive sleep apnea is an entity where
children stop breathing when they sleep, and they’ll have periods of obstruction, not
just mild snoring, but they are snoring, stopping breathing, and then gasping, and their sleep
may become motion filled where they flop around, they seek a position where they’re not obstructing. Obstructive sleep apnea in children can lead
to hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder. At its worst extreme, it can even lead to
right-sided heart failure. Children retain fluid. It’s also been shown to impact how they
learn. There are neurocognitive impacts of having
obstructive sleep apnea. If you don’t sleep well at night, you don’t
have your brain refreshed. When they come to see me, the clinical history
may be so compelling that we don’t need to do a sleep study and, consequently, we’ll
go ahead and fix what the problem is with the child. Many times we’ll send the child for a sleep
study, where they’ll spend the night in a lab and learn how much obstruction they
have. Whether or not they have heart arrhythmias
or any other things like that. A tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy are often
cures for sleep apnea in children. We typically will see the child back after
surgical intervention to make sure that everything is resolved and it’s very effective for
most of the children.

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