Small upper airway in near-miss sudden infant death syndrome infants and their families

Lancet. 1986 Feb 22;1(8478):402-7. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(86)92369-x.


6 infants (index cases) from five different families had a near-miss sudden infant death syndrome event between 3 and 12 weeks of age and had polygraphically documented apnoeas during sleep. 4 of their siblings had died of SIDS. The index cases, their 4 living siblings, 10 parents, and 8 grandparents underwent respiratory studies during sleep. All the adults and 3 index cases had cephalometric X-rays. 2 index cases underwent volume computerised tomographic scans when awake and during sleep. Index cases had mixed and obstructive sleep apnoea. Several family members had obstructive sleep apnoea; cephalometric X-rays also showed small upper airways, particularly behind the base of the tongue. A small posterior airway at the level of the tongue may be a familial risk factor for apnoea of infancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyoid Bone / diagnostic imaging
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Pedigree
  • Pharynx / diagnostic imaging
  • Pharynx / pathology*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / genetics
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / pathology*
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Sleep, REM / physiology
  • Sudden Infant Death*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed