It is well known that mouth breathing is associated with adenotonsillar hypertrophy - which is the main cause of obstructive sleep apnea among children. Despite the importance of this matter, there are only a handful of studies showing the relationship between OSAS and mouth breathing.
Aim: to determine the prevalence of obstructive sleep disorders in mouth breathing children and study its correlation with otorhinolaryngological findings.
Study design: Retrospective cohort study.
Method: Data analysis from 248 medical charts of mouth breathing children seen at the Pediatric Otolaryngologic Division of a large medical institution between the years of 2000 and 2006. All patients had nasofibroscopy and or Cavum radiographs and polysomnographic exams. According to the Apnea index, patients were classified as primary snorers (AI<1); and as OSAS (>1).
Results: From 248 patients included in the study, 144 (58%) were primary snorers and 104 (42%) had OSAS. The most prevalent otorhinolaryngological findings were adenotonsillar hypertrophy (n=152; 61.2%), tonsilar hypertrophy (n=17; 6.8%), adenoid hypertrophy (n=37; 14.9%), rhinitis (n=155; 62.5%) and secretory otitis (n=36; 14.5%).
Conclusions: primary snoring and OSAS are frequent findings in mouth breathing children. The most frequent otorhinolaryngological disorder in children with OSAS is adenotonsillar hypertrophy with or without rhinitis.