Snoring in children is abnormal. It suggests that upper airway obstruction may be present. Obstructive sleep apnoea is a disorder frequently associated with snoring and upper airway obstruction that is characterised by apnoeas (cessation of breathing) and hypopneas (reduction in breathing) in sleep. In approximately 80% of children with OSA, the cause is enlargement of the adenoid or tonsil. Obesity is another important causative factor. Children born with congenital syndromic abnormalities of the facial skeleton are also at high risk. Most children with obstructive sleep apnoea can be effectively treated with adenotonsillectomy. Children with severe OSA, or those who cannot be helped with surgery may respond to CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) which is applied via a mask during sleep.
Children with OSA are managed via a team approach in conjunction with sleep physicians.