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Pediatric sleep studies: when and how often are they necessary?

Friedman, Norman R.

Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head & Neck Surgery:
doi: 10.1097/MOO.0b013e328365ba8d

Purpose of review: With the increased awareness of the morbidity associated with snoring, polysomnography (PSG) is becoming more prevalent. Many national organizations have recently published clinical guidelines to facilitate decision-making for children with disrupted breathing patterns. This review will discuss these clinical guidelines and describe the rationale behind them. It will also touch on the limitations of PSG.

Recent findings: The common theme for the clinical guidelines is that PSG is being underutilized. Not only is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) associated with behavioral, cognitive, and cardiovascular morbidity, but primary snoring is also not always benign. The interpretation of the PSG is influenced by multiple variables: filter settings, sensors utilized, and how the respiratory events are tabulated.

Summary: To diagnose OSA, one requires overnight PSG. Multiple guidelines have been published to facilitate decision-making. Many questions remain unanswered and future research as well as PSG standardization will further clarify the role of PSG in the evaluation and treatment of disrupted breathing patterns in children.

Author Information

Department of Otolaryngology, University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children's Hospital Colorado, Aurora, Colorado, USA

Correspondence to Norman R. Friedman, MD, DABSM, Department of Pediatric Otolaryngology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Children's Hospital Colorado, 13123 E 16th Avenue, B455, Aurora, CO 80045, USA. Tel: +1 303 777 4777; fax: +1 720 777 7345; e-mail:

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