Study objective: To determine whether allergic sensitization occurs frequently in children with habitual snoring and whether allergy predicts the occurrence of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) in snoring children.
Design: Prospective study of 39 children with habitual snoring who were referred for polysomnography.
Setting: Pediatric pulmonary sleep disorders clinic in a tertiary referral center.
Measurements: Subjects underwent a complete history and physical examination. To assess for the presence of allergic sensitization, a multiantigen radioallergosorbent test (RAST) was performed on serum samples. Subjects then underwent nocturnal polysomnography to determine the presence and severity of OSAS.
Results: Fourteen subjects (36%) demonstrated sensitivity to allergens; this is higher than expected for the general pediatric population. The frequency of OSAS was increased in subjects with positive RAST results compared to those with negative RAST results (57% vs 40%; x2=9.11; p<0.01).
Conclusion: Allergy is frequently present in pediatric patients with habitual snoring. Furthermore, the presence of allergy is associated with an increased risk of OSAS in this population.