Study objectives: To determine the frequency, symptoms,
and polygraphic features of sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBD) in
adolescents aged 12 to 16 years.
Setting: Randomly selected
secondary schools in the city of Seville, Spain.
Participants: A general population sample of adolescents
(n = 101; mean [± SD] age, 13.2 ± 0.8 years).
Interventions: An 82-item questionnaire regarding
anthropometric data and nocturnal and daytime symptoms suggestive of
SRBD was administered. Symptoms were evaluated according to a 4-point
frequency scale. Snorers answered “sometimes” or “often” in the
question about snoring, and nonsnorers answered “never” or“
rarely.” All subjects underwent an overnight cardiorespiratory
polygraphy at home.
Results: Twenty-nine percent of
the subjects were snorers. Excessive daytime sleepiness was present in
14% of subjects, and sleep apnea was present in 3%. Polygraphy showed
a respiratory disturbance index ≥ 10 in 18 subjects (17.8%), but
concurrent symptoms highly suggestive of SRBD were found in only 2
subjects (1.9%). Snorers had higher waist-to-hip ratios and a higher
frequency of witnessed apnea or labored breathing as well as higher
values of respiratory events as compared with nonsnorers. However,
oximetry data were similar in both groups.
Conclusions: In a nonselected group of adolescents aged 12
to 16 years, the frequency of symptoms potentially associated with SRBD
was similar to that reported for younger children. Snoring was
associated with a higher occurrence of other nocturnal symptoms, a more
central pattern of body fat distribution, and a higher respiratory
disturbance index as compared with nonsnorers. Although polygraphic
abnormalities were mild, two cases of probable SRBD were found with a
prevalence rate of 1.9%.