Despite recent clinical guideline development, the best pathway of care for children with symptoms of obstructive sleep-disordered breathing (oSDB) is still debated. This systematic review aims to map research in childhood oSDB conducted so far, to support further guideline development, identify evidence gaps and guide future research.
Systematic search of PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library from inception to 26 November 2015. All publications on childhood oSDB were included, irrespective of type and language. The annual number of publications in the field of oSDB was counted over all years; for those published since 1 January 2011 (i.e. date of latest literature search of American Academy of Pediatrics guideline), total and annual numbers of publications across main research themes and methodologies were calculated.
Of the 7637 unique records retrieved, 5871 publications were eligible for inclusion. There is an increase in annual publications since 2000, with 46% published since 2011. Most (61%) publications focused on individual treatment modalities, incidence or prognosis. Few (2.7%) publications focused on health service delivery, outcomes and health economics. 78.5% of publications were observational, 2.4% were randomised controlled trials and 0.4% used a qualitative approach as their main methodology.
A recent surge in research activity in childhood oSDB has improved the knowledge base for this condition; the lack of health services, health economics and outcomes research however impacts on the applicability of evidence informing current guidance and leaves important questions for future research.