Cognitive function in preschool children with sleep-disordered breathing

Sleep Breath. 2015 Dec;19(4):1431-7. doi: 10.1007/s11325-015-1157-3. Epub 2015 Jul 2.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Polysomnography
  • Psychometrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Reference Values
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / epidemiology*