A study being presented as an oral presentation this afternoon at SLEEP 2008 describes the link between neck size and obstructive sleep apnea in children.
The study examined the records of 242 children between two and 18 years of age. The actual neck size of each patient was adjusted for age to obtain the child’s percent deviation from predicted neck size (DPN).
DPN showed a high correlation with apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), a measure of the severity of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). DPN showed a higher association with AHI than did body mass index (BMI) or tonsil size.
These results show that DPN may provide a more anatomically specific risk factor for OSA in children than obesity measures such as BMI.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, OSA occurs in about two percent of young children. It can develop in children at any age, but it is most common in preschoolers. OSA often occurs between the ages of 3 and 6 years when the tonsils and adenoids are large compared to the throat.