Purpose: The purposes of this study were to assess cognitive functions in preschool children with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and to compare them with matched control children.
Methods: A clinical sample of 2.5- to 6-year-old children with SDB was recruited. All children underwent sleep clinical record (SCR), which is a polysomnography (PSG)-validated questionnaire for diagnosing SDB, a polysomnography and a neurocognitive assessment. Normal controls were recruited from a kindergarten. They underwent the SCR and the cognitive assessment.
Results: We studied 41 children with primary snoring (PS)-mild obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS; M/F = 15/26, mean age 4.43 ± 0.94), 36 children with moderate-severe OSAS (M/F = 22/14, mean age 4.33 ± 1.02), and 83 controls (M/F = 33/50, mean age 4.5 ± 0.64). In the two groups, no differences were found in duration and age of onset of SDB, while a significant difference emerged in SCR score (p < 0.005). No differences emerged in the three groups in Verbal IQ, Performance IQ, and Global IQ scores, nor in any cognitive subtests.
Conclusions: We demonstrated that SDB of all severities is not associated with cognitive impairment compared to the control group in preschool age.
Keywords: Cognitive assessment; Intelligence quotient; Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome; Preschool children; Sleep-disordered breathing.