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Is oximetry an effective screening tool for obstructive sleep apnoea in children with Down syndrome?
  1. Sharon Jheeta,
  2. Marian McGowan,
  3. Irene Hadjikoumi
  1. Department of Developmental Paediatrics, Child Development Centre, St George's Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Irene Hadjikoumi, Child Development Centre, St George's Hospital, Blackshaw Road, London SW17 0QT, UK; ihatzikoumi{at}

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Screening for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), which is recognised to be present in 30%–60% of children with Down syndrome (DS) compared with 0.6%–2% of the general population, is controversial. Untreated, OSA can lead to complications such as pulmonary hypertension, behavioural problems and failure to thrive. However, the best screening tool remains debatable. Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) guidelines1 recommend screening children with DS with overnight oximetry and referring those with abnormal results for polysomnography. However, in our experience, oximetry remains insufficiently sensitive to detect the majority of cases.

We performed a three-stage study to determine the effectiveness of current diagnosis and screening for OSA in DS patients. A retrospective case review from 2007 to 2009 and …

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  • Contributors SJ wrote the draft letter which was revised by IH and MM. MM has contributed in the planning of the work. IH has contributed to the planning, conducting and reporting of the work described in the article. She is also responsible for the overall content as guarantor.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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