Longitudinal Impact of Resolution of Snoring in Young Children on Psychosocial Functioning

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Abstract

Objective

To determine whether sustained resolution of sleep disordered breathing (SDB) in young children, either because of treatment or spontaneous recovery, predicted long-term improvements in quality of life, family functioning, and parental stress.

Study design

Children diagnosed with primary snoring (n = 16), mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA, n = 11), moderate-severe (MS) OSA (n = 8), and healthy nonsnoring controls (n = 25) at ages 3-5 years underwent repeat polysomnography at 6-8 years. Parents completed quality of life and parental stress questionnaires at both time points. Resolution of SDB was determined as obstructive apnea hypopnea index (OAHI) ≤1 event/hour, or absence of snoring during polysomnography or on parent report. Linear mixed-model analyses determined the effects of resolution on psychosocial morbidity. OAHI was used to determine the predictive value of changes in SDB severity on psychosocial outcomes.

Results

Fifty percent of primary snoring, 45% mild OSA, and 63% MS OSA resolved, of which 67% received treatment. Children originally diagnosed with SDB continued to show significant psychosocial impairments compared with nonsnoring controls, irrespective of resolution. A reduction in OAHI predicted improvements in physical symptoms, school functioning, family worry and family relationships, and stress related to a difficult child.

Conclusions

Treatment was more likely to result in resolution of SDB if original symptoms were MS. Children originally diagnosed with SDB, irrespective of resolution, continued to experience psychosocial dysfunction suggesting additional interventions are required.

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