Obstructive sleep apnea in children with Down syndrome: is it possible to predict severe apnea?

Hizal M., ŞATIRER Ö. , Polat S. E. , Tural D. A. , Ozsezen B., SUNMAN B. , ...More

EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PEDIATRICS, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00431-021-04267-w
  • Keywords: Down syndrome, Obstructive sleep apnea, Polysomnography, Sleep-disordered breathing, Central sleep apnea, PREVALENCE


The objectives are to explore the demographic and polysomnographic features of children with Down syndrome and to determine the predictive factors associated with severe sleep apnea. A total of 81 children with Down syndrome referred for full-night polysomnography were analyzed. In addition, parental interviews were performed for each child. Data were available for 81 children, with a mean age of 4.8 years. Severe obstructive sleep apnea was determined in 53.1%. Age, sex, exposure to second-hand smoke, clinical findings, anthropometric features, and the presence of comorbidities were not predictors of severe obstructive sleep apnea. Children who were exposed to second-hand smoke had more sleep-related symptoms. Even in children without symptoms, the prevalence of severe obstructive sleep apnea was 40%. Moreover, 86% of parents had no previous information regarding possible sleep breathing disorders in their children. Clinically significant central apnea was present in 10 patients (12.3%). Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that severe obstructive sleep apnea is common in children with Down syndrome, even in children without a history of symptoms of sleep apnea. It is not possible to predict patients with severe apnea; thus, screening of children with Down syndrome beginning from young ages is very important. Central apneas could be a part of the spectrum of sleep abnormalities in Down syndrome.