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Seasonal variability in paediatric obstructive sleep apnoea
  1. Lisa M Walter1,
  2. Lauren C Nisbet1,
  3. Gillian M Nixon1,2,
  4. Margot J Davey1,2,
  5. Vicki Anderson3,
  6. John Trinder4,
  7. Adrian M Walker1,
  8. Rosemary S C Horne1
  1. 1The Ritchie Centre, Monash Institute of Medical Research, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Melbourne Children's Sleep Centre, Monash Children's Programme, Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3Critical Care and Neuroscience Research, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4Discipline of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lisa M Walter, The Ritchie Centre, Level 5, Monash Institute of Medical Research, Monash Medical Centre, 246 Clayton Road, Clayton, VIC 3168, Australia;{at}


Background Allergy and respiratory viral infection may contribute to the pathogenesis of sleep disordered breathing (SDB) through promoting adenotonsillar growth. We investigated the seasonal variation of SDB in children by analysing the change in the obstructive apnoea hypopnoea index (OAHI) throughout the year.

Participants 257 3–12-year-old children referred for assessment of SDB underwent overnight polysomnography (PSG).

Results Mean seasonal OAHI was significantly higher in winter (5.1±0.8 events/h) and spring (4.6±0.9 events/h) compared with autumn (2.4±0.8 events/h; p<0.01 and p<0.05, respectively) and summer (2.0±0.5 events/h; p<0.05 for both). There were no differences in OAHI between summer and the other seasons or between winter and spring.

Conclusions We identified more severe obstructive sleep apnoea in clinically referred children during winter and spring and suggest that inflammation from respiratory viruses may contribute to adenotonsillar hypertrophy, worsening airway obstruction. Clinicians should take season into account when interpreting PSG results.

  • General Paediatrics
  • Respiratory
  • Sleep

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