New Insights on Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders in Children by Dr. Nicolas Stefenatto

Sleep apnea is often associated with adults, particularly older individuals. However, this disorder can also affect children, with potentially serious consequences for their well-being and development.


In a recent video, Dr. Nicolas Stefenatto, medical advisor for Nomics, explores this topic.


Underestimated Prevalence

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, between 2% and nearly 6% of children suffer from sleep-related breathing disorders, including Obstructive Sleep Apnea-Hypopnea Syndrome (OSAHS). This figure may even be an underestimate, which should encourage doctors and parents to take this issue more seriously.

The consequences of these disorders on children are numerous. Lack of quality sleep can lead to learning difficulties, mood changes, and long-term complications such as hypertension, obesity, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).


Diagnosis and Screening

Diagnosing sleep-related breathing disorders and sleep apnea in children remains a challenge. Although laboratory polysomnography is considered the gold standard, it has limitations. Notably, it can be difficult to administer, especially for young children.

As a result, at-home ambulatory tests, like those offered by Nomics, are gaining popularity. They are more convenient and adapted to the child's natural environment.


Signs to Watch For

Symptoms such as night terrors, learning difficulties, bed-wetting, and mouth breathing are key indicators. Mouth breathing, in particular, can be an important warning sign, as it should not normally occur during healthy sleep.


JAWAC Technology: An Asset for Screening

One of the most promising advancements in this field is JAWAC technology. This technology studies jaw activity during sleep, allowing for accurate assessment of mouth breathing. It is non-invasive and easy to use, making it particularly suitable for children. Moreover, it can be helpful in evaluating the effectiveness of postoperative treatments such as adenotonsillectomy.


The Role of the General Practitioner

As a general practitioner, you are often the first point of contact for families facing these issues. Your role in identifying these disorders and directing them to the appropriate specialist for adequate treatment of these young patients is therefore crucial.

For more information on how Nomics tests can assist in screening and diagnosing sleep-related breathing disorders in children, please feel free to contact us.


Watch the Video


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Izu SC, Itamoto CH, Pradella-Hallinan M, Pizarro GU, Tufik S, Pignatari S, Fujita RR. Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) in mouth breathing children. Braz J Otorhinolaryngol. 2010 Sep-Oct;76(5):552-6. doi: 10.1590/S1808-86942010000500003.
Marcus CL, Brooks LJ, Draper KA, Gozal D, Halbower AC, Jones J, Schechter MS, Ward SD, Sheldon SH, Shiffman RN, Lehmann C, Spruyt K; American Academy of Pediatrics. Diagnosis and management of childhood obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Pediatrics. 2012 Sep;130(3):e714-55. doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-1672. Epub 2012 Aug 27.
Martinot JB, Le-Dong NN, Denison S, Guénard HJ, Borel JC, Silkoff PE, Pepin JL, Gozal D. Persistent respiratory effort after adenotonsillectomy in children with sleep-disordered breathing. Laryngoscope. 2018 May;128(5):1230-1237. doi: 10.1002/lary.26830. Epub 2017 Aug 22.
Martinot JB, Senny F, Denison S, Cuthbert V, Gueulette E, Guénard H, Pépin JL. Mandibular movements identify respiratory effort in pediatric obstructive sleep apnea. J Clin Sleep Med. 2015 Apr 15;11(5):567-74. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.4706.

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