Passive myofunctional therapy applied on children with obstructive sleep apnea: A 6-month follow-up

J Formos Med Assoc. 2017 Jul;116(7):536-541. doi: 10.1016/j.jfma.2016.08.002. Epub 2016 Oct 3.


Background/purpose: Myofunctional therapy is one of the recommended treatments for obstructive sleep apnea, but the level of compliance has often been low in children. This study aims to investigate the therapeutic effect of passive myofunctional therapy using an oral appliance during sleep in children suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.

Methods: Twenty-nine children who suffered from obstructive sleep apnea were divided into two groups: premature children and full-term children. All children wore an oral device to induce their tongue muscle activity during sleep for 6 months. Polysomnography during sleep was performed before and 1 week after the end of 6-month treatment.

Results: Both groups showed positive polysomnographic changes. Full-term children had a significant decrease in the apnea-hypopnea index, hypopnea index, and percentage of arousals. Prematurely born children had a significant decrease in the apnea-hypopnea index during rapid eye movement sleep and in the mean heart rate during sleep.

Conclusion: Using a specialized oral device to perform myofunctional therapy during sleep may improve the breathing during sleep of children with obstructive sleep apnea.

Keywords: children; obstructive sleep apnea; oral device; passive myofunctional therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myofunctional Therapy*
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / therapy*