[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 11-Jun-2007
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Contact: Jim Arcuri
jarcuri@aasmnet.org
708-492-0930
American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Premature infants, toddlers more likely to have a sleep-related breathing disorder

WESTCHESTER, Ill. A sleep-related breathing disorder among infants and toddlers born prematurely occurs earlier than expected in this population, and at higher rates than among full-term infants, according to a research abstract that will be presented Monday at SLEEP 2007, the 21st Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS).

The study, authored by Hawley E. Montgomery-Downs, PhD, of West Virginia University, consisted of the responses of parents of those patients attending a neonatal follow-up clinic to a research questionnaire. Every parent who was approached agreed to participate, and analyses were based on the first 71 participants. Patients were born at 31 weeks gestation and were 10.6 months of age at the time of the study.

Fourteen percent of the children were reported to snore two days per week, while eight percent were reported to snore more frequently. Patients who were reported to snore two days per week weighed less than those reported to snore less than two days per week. Consistent with the poor growth found in children with an SRBD, the study also found that prematurely born infants and toddlers at-risk for snoring and an SRBD have a lower current body weight independent of age.

"These findings may allow clinicians to focus on early assessment and intervention for prematurely-born children, reducing their negative developmental consequences," said Montgomery-Downs.

Childhood SRBD, a condition associated with snoring that causes frequent sleep disturbance and intermittent hypoxia, is present in approximately three percent of children and adversely impacts their cognitive development.

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Parents who think their children might suffer from an SRBD, or another sleep disorder, are encouraged to consult with the child's pediatrician, who will refer them to a sleep specialist.

The annual SLEEP meeting brings together an international body of 5,000 leading researchers and clinicians in the field of sleep medicine to present and discuss new findings and medical developments related to sleep and sleep disorders.

More than 1,000 research abstracts will be presented at the SLEEP meeting, a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society. The four-day scientific meeting will bring to light new findings that enhance the understanding of the processes of sleep and aid the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy and sleep apnea.



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