Ear, Nose and Throat of San Ramon      
N. Parhizkar, M.D.      
5401 Norris Canyon Road, Suite 302      
San Ramon, CA 94583      
925 277-9000       

Pediatric Sleep Disorder Breathing and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep is a vital part of your child's growth and development. If you find that your little one snores often, gasps for air at night, stops breathing, wakes up tired, or has restless sleep, it would be wise to have a consultation with your pediatrician and Pediatric ENT. It is important to determine if your little one is suffering from sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is when an upper airway obstruction, most commonly big tonsils and adenoids, cause blockage in breathing while asleep. These interruptions may occur hundreds of times a night, causing your child to gasp for air and disrupt sleep. The condition occurs in an estimated 1-3 percent of children. Children between the ages of two to six years old are most commonly affected, though it can be seen in infants and adolescents.

When a child's breathing is obstructed during sleep it can affect the body in many ways. For instance, the heart rate slows, the nervous system is stimulated, blood pressure rises, the brain is aroused and sleep is disrupted. Repeated interruptions to sleep and sleep apnea can cause your child to be deprived of sleep, resulting in crankiness and ill behavior. Sleep disorder breathing in children has been linked to bed-wetting, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and cognitive impairments. It is important to know that even mild sleep apnea can lead to accumulated sleep deficiency and affect his/her cognition, especially between the ages of six to ten.

Though the leading cause of sleep apnea in children is enlarged tonsils and adenoids, some children with enlarged tonsils will not have any symptoms, whereas others with small tonsils may have severe sleep apnea. Children with other disorders, such as craniofacial anomalies, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or Down's syndrome are at an increased risk for sleep apnea.

Pediatric ear, nose and throat specialists are experts in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of sleep apnea in children. Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy achieves a 90 percent success rate for childhood sleep apnea. Dr. Parhizkar works with pediatric sleep specialists in diagnosing your child's condition and coordinating the best possible care.

Dr Parhizkar is available to meet with you and your child for consultation. If a surgical treatment is recommended, she will explain the procedure in detail. She will also will discuss whether hospitalization is necessary after the procedure, as well as the risks and benefits of the treatment.