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Seasonal variability in paediatric obstructive sleep apnoea


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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