Syndromes with Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is significantly more common in children with some genetic syndromes and high risk groups. In children with genetic syndromes the cause of OSA multifactorial with multilevel airway obstruction; most important being falling back of the tongue and midface hypoplasia.

A high index of suspicion should be kept for children with underlying genetic syndromes and other medical conditions which predispose to OSA. Symptoms in these children can be subtle and non specific.

What are the genetic syndromes associated with sleep apnea?

(A) Genetic Syndromes like Craniofacial syndromes (Apert, Crouzon, Pfeiffer), Down’s syndrome, Obesity syndromes (Prader Willi or Bardeit Biedel), Pierre Robin sequence etc.
(B) High Risk groups like chronic lung diseases, Sickle cell disease, mucopolysachharidosis, Tracheo-bronchomalacia etc
(C) Neuromusular Disorders with Suspected Nocturnal Hypoventilation

  • Congenital Myopathies
  • Muscular Dystrophies
  • Spinal muscular atrophy

Children with the above genetic syndromes or high risk groups should be appropriately screened and require a sleep study for diagnosis of sleep apnea.