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ent4kids - Murali Mahadevan

Private Service, ENT/ Head & Neck Surgery, Paediatrics

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) in Children

When snoring is interrupted by episodes of totally obstructed breathing, it is known as obstructive sleep apnoea. The obstruction is caused by the relaxation of muscles that support the soft tissues at the back of the throat such as the uvula, soft palate, tongue and tonsils. These tissues then collapse and momentarily block the airway.
Episodes may last 1-20 seconds or more and may occur hundreds of times per night. While you are not breathing, the levels of oxygen in your blood drop which causes your blood pressure to go up and adds strain to your cardiovascular system. In addition, you are likely to feel overly tired during the day and your work, driving and overall performance may be affected.
In children tonsil and adenoid enlargement account for 75% of the OSA. Others are due to obesity, craniofacial abnormalities, maxillary mandibular malalignment, or due to syndromes. Your ENT surgeon and respiratory physician can advise on this further.
The usual treatment  for  children should be adenotonsillar removal ( 75-80%  curative) followed by further investigations to exclude other causes of OSAS. Like in adults in some children    OSA can be treated with a CPAP mask that delivers pressurised air to keep the airways open while you sleep. This treatment is known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).

This page was last updated at 2:57PM on August 25, 2021.