Early lower respiratory tract infections related to the development of sleep apnea in children

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Sleep Disorders | Sleep Review

Several birth cohorts have defined the central role of early lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) in the development of pediatric respiratory diseases. However, the association between early lower respiratory tract infections and the development of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in children has not been established.

Now researchers at Children’s National Hospital have found a link between early lower respiratory tract infections and the development of OSA in children, according to a study published in SLEEP. “These results suggest that Respiratory Syncytial Virus LRTI may contribute to the pathophysiology of OSA in children,” said Gustavo Nino, MD, director of sleep medicine at Children’s National, in a press release.

The study also showed that children with a history of severe RSV bronchiolitis in early infancy were more than two-fold more likely to develop OSA in the first five years of life, regardless of other risk factors.

“The results suggest that RSV-LRTI may contribute to the pathophysiology of OSA in children, raising concerns that primary prevention strategies can hinder the initial establishment of OSA after early viral LRTIs,” says Nino. “Primary prevention of OSA in children would have a dramatic effect in reducing the increasing incidence of the disease and preventing its harmful effects on child health and beyond.”

The new results also open the possibility that new anticipatory strategies and interventions can be developed to detect and prevent the initial establishment of OSA following viral respiratory infections in early infancy, which has a dramatic effect in reducing the increasing incidence of this disease and its various harmful effects offers on the subject of child health and beyond.

“Our study offers a new paradigm for studying mechanisms involved in the early pathogenesis of OSA in children and adolescents,” says Nino.

Marishka Brown, PhD, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), says, “The results of this study suggest that viral Lower respiratory tract infections could predispose to the development of sleep-related breathing disorders in later childhood. More research to find out how these infections affect airway function could lead to a better understanding of how sleep apnea develops in pediatric patients. “

This study includes financial support from the NIH, including the NHLBI.

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