Snoring in children is abnormal and suggests that upper airway obstruction may be present. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a disorder frequently associated with snoring and upper airway obstruction, characterised by apnoeas (cessation of breathing) and hypopneas (reduction in breathing) during sleep.
In approximately 80 percent of children with OSA, the cause is enlargement of the adenoids or tonsils. Obesity is another important causative factor. OSA in children can cause problems with concentration and energy but may also present with growth problems, disruptive behaviour and bed wetting. It may also have other serious issues, particularly in children who have other syndromic abnormalities that affects the facial skeleton.
Most children with OSA can be effectively treated with adenotonsillectomy. Children with severe OSA, or those who cannot be helped with surgery, may respond to CPAP, which is applied via a mask during sleep. Children with OSA are managed via a team approach in conjunction with sleep physicians.