Is obstructive sleep apnea syndrome in children season dependent?
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The most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in children is an enlargement of tonsils and/or adenoids. Previous studies have shown that the size of adenoids and tonsils is influenced by upper respiratory tract infections and exposure to allergens. The rate of exposure to bacteria, viruses, and allergens fluctuates from season to season. Therefore, we hypothesized that the rate of polysomnograms positive for OSA may vary according to season.
The objective of this study is to determine whether the prevalence of OSA in children, as determined by polysomnography, is affected by the season during which the study was performed.
We retrospectively reviewed polysomnography tests of 296 children, ages 0–12 years, referred for suspected OSA. We compared the Obstructive Apnea Hypopnea Index (OAHI) between the seasons and the rates of abnormal tests in each season according to the degree of severity.
The mean OAHI did not significantly differ among the seasons (winter, 3.0 ± 5.0; spring, 3.0 ± 4.9; summer, 4.0 ± 6.3; fall, 3.4 ± 5.7, p = 0.183). When dividing the OAHI by levels of severity, no seasonality was found in moderate (winter, 13.8 %; spring, 6.7 %; summer, 11.7 %; fall, 14.1 %, p = NS) and severe OSA (winter, 8.8 %; spring, 11.2 %; summer, 10 %; fall, 7.8 %, p = NS). There was a small increase in the frequency of mild OSA diagnoses in the summer compared to the other seasons.
In this study, season does not appear to affect the rate of diagnosis of significant OSA in children. Re-evaluation during a different season is unlikely to provide different results and may postpone surgery unnecessarily.
KeywordsObstructive sleep apnea Children Season Polysomnography
Compliance with ethical standards
No funding was received for this research.
All the authors certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest or non-financial interest in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.
This study was authorized and approved by the Shaare Zedek Medical Center Institutional Review Board (Helsinki committee) and due to its retrospective approach was exempted from written informed consent.
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