Children, unacknowledged victims of sleep apnea

The prevalence of pediatric sleep apnea is between 2 and 5% in most studiesMore often than not, allergist Madiha Al-Lafi emphasized during a webinar organized on the occasion of the 22nd National Sleep Day, March 18.

According to Inserm data, The rate rises to 8% for those aged 20-44, and even more for those who are older. But for this doctor from Albee, co-founder of the Association for Ideas that promotes care for young patients, obstructive sleep apnea “Relates to at least one in twenty children”which is 100 times higher than that of the so-called rare diseases.

Nocturnal snoring, a clinical sign of a possible obstructive sleep syndromeare not sufficiently taken into account according to specialists, while a recent survey by the OpinionWay Institute, which was conducted on a thousand parents, revealed that 6% of children suffer from snoring.

“I often hear people say, ‘Hey, he snores like his grandfather’…No, a child who snores is not normal”reassures Patricia Franco, head of the pediatric sleep unit at the Hospital for Women and Children (HFME) in Bron, near Lyon.

There may be occasional discomfort (eg stuffy nose). “But if the child snores every night, in a prolonged and intense way, you should consider sleep apnea”The doctor insists to whom “This message does not get across enough in families”.

loss of ability

often unexpected in children, This disease is very harmfulpoints to André Stagnara, director of rehabilitation at La Maisonnée, a follow-up care institution for children located in Francheville (Rhône).

He plays the night recording of a 4-year-old: We hear “kind of corn”It is difficult for air to enter the lungs. Then the sound decreases and breathing stops for about twenty seconds: apnea, which repeats several times an hour.

“He does this all night long. However, it happens during paradoxical sleep (dream) We record the learning per day: partial awakening associated with low oxygen will alter the child’s psychomotor development”Practitioner summarizes. “You cannot imagine the potential lost. »

“To learn how to hold a spoon, express, tie a shoelace, read, write, etc., you need a good sleep, so that the brain can do its job of sorting and archiving”And Dr. Lafi abounds in it. And “In order to sleep well, you have to breathe well.”

next to snoring Restless nights, difficulty waking up, dark circles in the eyes, pale skin, daytime fatigue, lack of attention at school, hyperactivity or anger are other signs and children, which should encourage parents to consult, seek specialists.

Few of the specialists

Nasal drops or anti-allergic treatment, removal of enlarged tonsils or adenoids, maxillofacial physiotherapy for tongue repositioning, nasal septal surgery or orthodontics, continuous positive pressure breathing apparatus … Responses to sleep apnea vary, in one way or another, depending on the situation.

It is still necessary to reach a diagnosis. There are two children’s dormitories, each with three check-in beds, in France
In Paris (Hospital Robert Despres) and in Bron (HFME) where the waiting time arrives “Easy for a year”says Patricia Franco.

Since 2019, it has been creating a regional sponsorship network to better meet the demand. There is a university diploma since 2011with 20 winners a year, and pediatric sleep coaching is evolving. The fact remains that specialists are still few in number.

Services like La Maisonnée also manage recordings, but they are “The number is not enough”is indicated.

For André Stagnara, the solution includes opening extra beds and using remote monitoring for children with hearing aids. The structure of Franceville is implementing a project in this direction, the financing of which has been approved by the Regional Health Agency for a year of trials.

“It doesn’t mean anythinglaments the practitioner. We found a pediatrician with pulmonology, which is a blessing from heaven, and we won’t offer her a one-year fixed-term contract…”

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