Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) is a broad term that covers conditions such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). Snoring alone affects 8-12% of children in Australia and is considered to be the mildest form of SDB. On its own it may not be a problem for your child’s development, however it may indicate a more severe form of SDB, such as OSA. OSA is caused by significant upper airway obstruction, which results in interruption of the normal sleep pattern and potentially a drop in the oxygen levels during sleep. In this form, SDB affects 2-3% of children under the age of 10.
The most common cause of SDB in children is upper airway obstruction from enlarged adenoids and tonsils.
The symptoms of sleep apnea in children are different to those we commonly see in adults. Whereas in adults the hallmark of OSA is periods of not breathing ('apnoeas') the symptoms in children are less specific and include the following:
A recent report has found that only 10-15% of children with SDB are being treated. The treatment of choice in most cases of SDB is removal of the tonsils and/or adenoids (read about adenotonsillectomy here). This operation has an excellent cure rate- reported to be up to 95%. Only a small number of children with have persistent symptoms after this operation but is why I follow up all children undergoing adenotonsillectomy after the operation to ensure symptoms have resolved. If not then more investigation is warranted.
We are currently in unchartered waters with the COVID-19 pandemic. At ENTSA we are, as always, committed to the health and wellbeing of our staff and our patients. Ear, nose and throat examinations and surgery however are considered extremely high risk for virus transmission and so we are making changes in our practice.
The current recommendations from the Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (ASOHNS) are:
As a result of this, our practice is changing. We are still here to care for new and existing patients. We have established a Telehealth system to enable continuity of care for existing patients and a ‘non-contact’ option for new patients to access an initial assessment and commencement of treatment.
Please call us to discuss Telehealth options on: (08) 7200 2539
We will still see some patients in the office however this will be limited to protect the health of you and our staff.
If you attend, we ask you to comply with the following: