Sleep, sleep disordered breathing, and nocturnal hypoventilation in children with neuromuscular diseases

Paediatr Respir Rev. 2010 Mar;11(1):24-30. doi: 10.1016/j.prrv.2009.10.003.


Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) is now well recognized in children with neuromuscular diseases (NMD) and may lead to significant morbidity and increased mortality. Predisposing factors to SDB in children with NMD include reduced ventilatory responses, reduced activity of respiratory muscles during sleep and poor lung mechanics due to the underlying neuro-muscular disorder. SDB may present long before signs of respiratory failure emerge. When untreated, SDB may contribute to significant cardiovascular morbidities, neuro-cognitive deficits and premature death. One of the problems in detecting SDB in patients with NMD is the lack of correlation between lung function testing and daytime gas exchange. Polysomnography is the preferred method to evaluate for SDB in children with NMD. When the diagnosis of SDB is confirmed, treatment by non-invasive ventilation (NIV) is usually recommended. However, other modalities of mechanical ventilation do exist and may be indicated in combination with or without other supportive measures.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Humans
  • Hypoventilation / etiology*
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / complications*
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiopathology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / etiology*
  • Sleep*