Diagnosis, management and pathophysiology of central sleep apnea in children

Paediatr Respir Rev. 2019 Apr:30:49-57. doi: 10.1016/j.prrv.2018.07.005. Epub 2018 Jul 25.


Central sleep apnea (CSA) is thought to occur in about 1-5% of healthy children. CSA occurs more commonly in children with underlying disease and the presence of CSA may influence the course of their disease. CSA can be classified based on the presence or absence of hypercapnia as well as the underlying condition it is associated with. The management of CSA needs to be tailored to the patient and may include medication, non-invasive ventilation, and surgical intervention. Screening children at high risk will allow for earlier diagnosis and timely therapeutic interventions for this population. The review will highlight the pathophysiology, prevalence and diagnosis of CSA in children. An algorithm for the management of CSA in healthy children and children with underlying co-morbidities will be outlined.

Keywords: Central sleep apnea; Children; Hypoventilation; Sleep disordered breathing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Humans
  • Noninvasive Ventilation
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep Apnea, Central / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea, Central / epidemiology
  • Sleep Apnea, Central / physiopathology*
  • Sleep Apnea, Central / therapy