, Volume 171, Issue 12, pp 1747-1752

Craniofacial morphology but not excess body fat is associated with risk of having sleep-disordered breathing—The PANIC Study (a questionnaire-based inquiry in 6–8-year-olds)

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Abstract

We investigated the associations of dental occlusion, other craniofacial features and body fat with paediatric sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in a representative population sample of 491 Finnish children 6–8 years of age. Overweight and obesity were defined using age- and sex-specific body mass index cutoffs by International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) criteria. Body fat percentage was assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Facial proportions, dental occlusion and soft tissue structures were evaluated by an orthodontist. Sleep was assessed by a sleep questionnaire administered by the parents. SDB was defined as apnoeas, frequent or loud snoring or nocturnal mouth breathing observed by the parents. The prevalence of SDB was 9.9 % with no difference between boys and girls. The median (interquartile range) of body fat percentage was 20.6 (17.4–27.1) in girls and 15.0 (11.4–21.6) in boys. Altogether 11.4 % of boys and 15.6 % of girls were classified as having overweight or obesity according to the IOTF criteria. There was no difference in the prevalence of overweight, obesity or body fat percentage between children with SDB and those without it. Children with tonsillar hypertrophy had a 3.7 times higher risk of suffering SDB than those with normal size tonsils after adjustment for age, sex and body fat percentage. Furthermore, children with cross bite had a 3.3 times higher risk of having SDB than those without cross bite, and children with a convex facial profile had a 2.6 times higher risk of having SDB than those with a normal facial profile. Conclusion: Abnormal craniofacial morphology, but not excess body fat, is associated with an increased risk of having SDB in 6–8-year-old children. A simple model of necessary clinical examinations (i.e. facial profile, dental occlusion and tonsils) is recommended to recognize children with an increased risk of SDB.