Sleep related breathing disorders (SRBD) are seen at disproportionately higher rates in children with spina bifida compared with their same aged peers. SRBD such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or central apnea are associated with developmental and cognitive consequences, and sudden death.
Participants aged 1 to 20 years with a diagnosis of spina bifida were recruited from a pediatric academic hospital spinal cord specialty clinic to evaluate the prevalence and impact of sleep disorders in the spina bifida population; 76 polysomnogram (PSG) reports spanning a 3-year period were reviewed in this retrospective cohort study.
Of the PSGs reviewed, 37 (49%) indicated the presence of SRBD, and 28 (76%) of those children required an escalation of management (surgical intervention or additional respiratory support). These results are consistent with previous studies and further emphasize the clinical impact of SRBD on children with spina bifida by describing the interventions that followed an abnormal PSG.
The high prevalence of SRBD in the spina bifida population supports the need for additional research to develop sleep questionnaires specific to spina bifida that can predict abnormal PSG clinically and to determine the standard of care following an abnormal PSG, chiefly in OSA and central apnea.