Esophageal pressure monitoring during polysomnography in children offers a gold-standard, “preferred” assessment for work of breathing, but is not commonly used in part because prospective data on incremental clinical utility are scarce. We compared a standard pediatric apnea/hypopnea index to quantitative esophageal pressures as predictors of apnea-related neurobehavioral morbidity and treatment response.
Eighty-one children aged 7.8 ± 2.8 (SD) years, including 44 boys, had traditional laboratory-based pediatric polysomnography, esophageal pressure monitoring, multiple sleep latency tests, psychiatric evaluations, parental behavior rating scales, and cognitive testing, all just before clinically indicated adenotonsillectomy, and again 7.2 ± 0.8 months later. Esophageal pressures were used, along with nasal pressure monitoring and oronasal thermocouples, not only to identify respiratory events but also more quantitatively to determine the most negative esophageal pressure recorded and the percentage of sleep time spent with pressures lower than −10 cm H2O.
Both sleep-disordered breathing and neurobehavioral measures improved after surgery. At baseline, one or both quantitative esophageal pressure measures predicted a disruptive behavior disorder (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition-defined attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, or oppositional defiant disorder) and more sleepiness and their future improvement after adenotonsillectomy (each P < .05). The pediatric apnea/hypopnea index did not predict these morbidities or treatment outcomes (each P > .10). The addition of respiratory effort-related arousals to the apnea/hypopnea index did not improve its predictive value. Neither the preoperative apnea/hypopnea index nor esophageal pressures predicted baseline hyperactive behavior, cognitive performance, or their improvement after surgery.
Quantitative esophageal pressure monitoring may add predictive value for some, if not all, neurobehavioral outcomes of sleep-disordered breathing.
ClinicalTrials.gov; No.: NCT00233194; URL: www.clinicaltrials.gov