Home oximetry is commonly used to screen for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in children; however, normal oxygen desaturation levels by disease severity are not well known. It was our objective to determine if oxygen saturation levels differed by OSA severity category in children and if these differences were similar for preteen children and adolescents.Study Design
Retrospective case series of children undergoing polysomnography from September 2011 to July 2015.Setting
Tertiary pediatric hospital.Subjects and Methods
Six- to 18-year-olds (preteen, 6-12 years old; adolescent, 13-18 years old). Chi-square, Wilcoxon rank sum test, and Kruskal-Wallis testing were used to compare variables between age groups.Results
The study included 342 children with a mean age of 11.3 ± 2.4 years (range, 6.5-17.5) and a mean body mass index of 25.6 ± 9.2 kg/m2 (78 ± 29 percentile); 61% were white, 35% were black, and 4% were other or unknown. Of the children, 48% were female, and this was not a significant difference between age groups (P = .81). Overall, 50% of the children had no OSA, 32% mild, 10% moderate, and 8% severe. When compared with the younger children, the adolescents had a longer sleep time (P = .014) and a higher mean obstructive apnea-hypopnea index (3.53 ± 5.1 vs 3.03 ± 6.1 events per hour, P = .02). The 3% and 4% oxygen desaturation indices were not significantly different between age groups when accounting for OSA severity.Conclusion
Adolescents have longer sleep times and higher obstructive apnea-hypopnea indexes than preteens, but oxygen saturations and desaturation indices were similar. This supports current triage algorithms for children with OSA, as we found no significant age-based differences.