Sleep-related breathing disorders in adolescents aged 12 to 16 years : clinical and polygraphic findings

Chest. 2001 May;119(5):1393-400. doi: 10.1378/chest.119.5.1393.


Study objectives: To determine the frequency, symptoms, and polygraphic features of sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBD) in adolescents aged 12 to 16 years.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

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 > or = 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%.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / epidemiology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires