Risk factors for obstructive sleep apnoea in Australian children

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Aim: This study aims to determine whether demographic or clinical factors predict obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) severity in Australian children. Methods: Demographic details and medical histories of 301 Australian children (3–17 years old) referred for assessment of OSA were examined retrospectively. Children underwent overnight polysomnography and were classified as having primary snoring (PS) (obstructive apnoea hypopnoea index (OAHI) ≤ 1 event per hour; n = 150), mild OSA (>1 OAHI ≤ 5 events per hour; n = 76) or moderate/severe (MS) OSA (OAHI > 5 events per hour; n = 75). Information obtained from parent-report questionnaire determined the predictive value of the following factors for determining OSA severity: gender, ethnicity, body mass index, asthma and/or allergic rhinitis, socio-economic status and parental smoking status (mother/father/both). Chi-squared analyses were used to compare the distribution of the demographic and clinical factors across the three groups. Statistically significant risk factors were subsequently entered into logistic regression analysis. Results: Ethnicity and parental smoking were significant risk factors for MS OSA. Children with non-Caucasian ethnicity were 36% more likely than Caucasian children to be diagnosed with MS OSA than PS (P = 0.002). Children with fathers who smoked were 53% more likely to have MS OSA than PS compared with those with fathers who did not smoke (P = 0.008). Obesity was associated with OSA severity in primary school-aged children only. Gender, socio-economic status and history of asthma and/or allergic rhinitis were not risk factors. Conclusions: Non-Caucasian ethnicity, paternal smoking and obesity in older children were associated with an increased risk of polysomnography-confirmed MS OSA in Australian children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)512-517
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • ethnicity
  • obstructive sleep apnoea
  • polysomnography
  • risk factor
  • smoking
  • snoring

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