Obstructive sleep apnea in children with epilepsy: prospective pilot trial

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Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is prevalent in adults with epilepsy, especially refractory, but limited data exist in children with epilepsy. Aims– We conducted a prospective pilot study in children with epilepsy to identify the prevalence of OSA and its relationship to the use of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) and epilepsy types.


We used Michigan Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire (PSQ) in children with epilepsy. Patients were classified by seizures frequency as mild (0–1 seizure/month) or severe, refractory epilepsy (>1 seizures/month). We used PSQ ≥ 0.33 as a cutoff point to assess the risk of OSA.


Of 84 children, 52 were classified as mild and 32 as severe. Prevalence of OSA was significantly higher in the severe (43.8%) vs the mild group (30.7%, P < 0.05). Children on >1 AED had significantly higher prevalence of OSA (45.8%) than children on ≤1 AED (30.6%, P < 0.05). There was no significant correlation between the prevalence of OSA and seizure types.


OSA is more prevalent in refractory epilepsy and in children who are on multiple AEDs. While further studies are needed to confirm these findings and to assess the consequences of OSA, we believe it is important to screen the children with epilepsy for OSA.

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