Polysomnography for the Diagnosis of Sleep Disordered Breathing in Children Under 2 Years of Age

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To describe clinical polysomnography (PSG) results, sleep physicians' diagnosis, and treatment of sleep disorder breathing in children less than 2 years of age.

Study Design:

Retrospective clinical chart review at a pediatric tertiary care center, pediatric sleep laboratory.

Subject Selection:

Children less than 2 years of age who underwent clinical PSG over a 3-year period.


PSG results and physician interpretations were identified for inclusions. Children were excluded if either PSG results or physician interpretations were unavailable for review. Infants were classified in three age groups for comparison: <6 months, 6–12 months, and >12 months.


Matched records were available for 233 PSGs undertaken at a mean age 11.1 ± 7.0 months; 31% were <6 months, 23% were 6–12 months, and 46% were 12–24 months of age. Infants <6 months showed significant differences on sleep parameters and respiratory indicators compared to other groups. Compared to physician sleep disordered breathing (SDB) classification, current pediatric apnea–hypopnea index (AHI)-based SDB severity classification overestimated SDB severity. Age and obstructive-mixed AHI (OMAHI) were most closely associated with physician identification of SDB.


Children <6 months of age appear to represent a distinct group with respect to PSG. Experienced sleep physicians appear to incorporate age and respiratory event frequently when determining the presence of SDB. Further information about clinical significance of apnea in infancy is required, assisted by identification of factors that sleep physicians use to identify SDB in children <6 months of age.

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