cerebral palsy and sleep apnea - surgical sleep solutions

Sleep Apnea In Children With Cerebral Palsy

A new study published in the journal Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology has found that children suffering from cerebral palsy and epilepsy are often also suffering from a sleep disorder such a obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The study also found that children with cerebral palsy and sleep apnea can be more easily located and diagnosed through routine screenings that involve a simple questionnaire.

The Study: Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children with Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy

This study, conducted at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, Minnesota, examined the risk of sleep apnea in children suffering with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, or both. It examined 215 children who fell into four different categories:

  • 54 children with cerebral palsy
  • 18 children with epilepsy
  • 55 children with both cerebral palsy and epilepsy
  • 88 children with neither cerebral palsy or epilepsy, but who had some developmental disabilities.

The study then used the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) in order to determine the level of cerebral palsy as well as the Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire (PSQ) to determine screen the children for sleep apnea before running more formal sleep apnea diagnostic tests.

Sleep Apnea & Cerebral Palsy Study: The Findings

Researchers found that 58 percent of the children with cerebral palsy and 67 percent of the children with epilepsy recorded significantly increase PSQ scores, as compared with only 27 percent of the children with neither disorder.

Additionally, the study found that the group of children with both cerebral palsy and epilepsy were most likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. The study also found that The greater the child’s score on the GMFCS, which measures the severity of the cerebral palsy, the more likely the child suffered from OSA.

Finally, the study found that the PSQ identified 46 percent of the children at risk of sleep apnea than did the medical record review for symptoms of OSA, which only identified slight over 8 percent of cases.

Study Conclusions

The study’s lead author John Garcia believes that this study will help more kids with cerebral palsy and epilepsy diagnosed with sleep apnea – and sooner than before. He points out that treating sleep apnea in these groups of children can have significant advantages, especially when it comes to their overall health, as other studies have shown that treating OSA in these cases have fewer seizures, contract fewer respiratory illnesses, and see more gains in treatments.

“This is a vulnerable population to begin with, so the stakes are higher,”  lead author John Garcia stated in a press release. “Obstructive sleep disorders make life really tough for anybody, but even more so for kids who have CP. Anyone who has CP should be screened for a sleep disorder—it should be standard practice. We can improve quality of life for our patients.”

Surgical Sleep Solutions for OSA

Children who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea have a number of treatment options, including CPAP therapy or sleep apnea surgery, depending on the individual details of their case. At Surgical Sleep Solutions, we are committed to finding the right solution for everyone, both now and for future generations. To learn more about what we do, please contact us today.

Surgical Sleep Solutions does not directly treat children suffering from OSA but can provided resources to help find the right treatment path.