The impact of obstructive sleep apnea in children with sickle cell disease and asthma

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2023 Nov;58(11):3188-3194. doi: 10.1002/ppul.26643. Epub 2023 Aug 22.


Introduction: Asthma and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are chronic diseases that disproportionately affect children with sickle cell disease (SCD). The literature describes the negative impact that both conditions have on children with SCD separately; however, the effect of OSA on asthmatic children with OSA is less specific. We hypothesized that the presence of OSA in children with SCD and asthma is associated with specific hematologic markers, worse clinical outcomes, and greater healthcare utilization.

Methods: We retrospectively evaluated children with both SCD and asthma who underwent polysomnography (PSG). We assessed their demographic information, PSG data, hematologic indices, and healthcare utilization based on the concurrent presence of OSA.

Results: Fifty-nine percent of the cohort had OSA with a lower oxygen saturation (SpO2 ) nadir (87% vs. 93%, p < 0.001) and a lower median daytime SpO2 (96.5% vs. 98.5%, p < 0.05); those with OSA were more likely to have the hemoglobin SS genotype (86% vs. 46.5%, p = 0.03). Additionally, those with OSA had a higher mean corpuscular volume (87 vs. 77.2 fL, p = 0.03) and reticulocyte count (10.1% vs. 5.5%, p < 0.01). There was no difference in asthma severity or healthcare utilization between those with OSA and those without OSA.

Discussion: Overall, children with SCD and asthma might be at increased risk for developing OSA, and screening for sleep-disordered breathing should be incorporated as part of their routine care.

Keywords: asthma; obstructive sleep apnea; sickle cell disease.

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Sickle Cell* / complications
  • Asthma* / complications
  • Asthma* / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Polysomnography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive* / complications
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive* / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive* / epidemiology