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Mechanisms of obstructive sleep apneas in infants.

Authors
  • Kahn, A
  • Groswasser, J
  • Sottiaux, M
  • Rebuffat, E
  • Franco, P
Type
Published Article
Journal
Biology of the neonate
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1994
Volume
65
Issue
3-4
Pages
235–239
Identifiers
PMID: 8038288
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

During sleep, infants with obstructive sleep apneas are characterised by snoring, laborious breathing, and profuse sweating. During wakefulness, they may have breath-holding spells, and during feeding, difficult breathing and swallowing coordination. Abnormal weight, difficult growth, and recurring ear infections may also develop. During sleep apneas, cinefluoroscopy shows approximation of tongue and hypopharyngeal tissues, with an obliteration of the air space. The obstructed breaths occur mainly in REM, and light NREM sleep, associated with total short sleep time, and frequent arousals. Preterm infants, and term neonates are more prone to obstructive apneas than older healthy infants. Apneas are more frequently seen in boys and in case of excess in body weight. Obstructive apneas are frequently associated with upper airway anatomic abnormalities: malformations, soft tissue infiltration, and neurologic lesions impairing muscle contractions. Alterations of the autonomic nervous control may induce airways obstructions. Contributing factors include mucopolysaccharide storage disease, hypothyroidism, or Down's syndrome. Superimposed factors may occur, such as nasal obstruction, secretions in the airways, or tissue edema. Pressure- and chemo-sensitive reflexes may also favor obstruction. Environmental factors also contribute to the development of sleep apneas: body position, neck flexion, sleep deprivation, or the effects of sedative drugs.

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