Pulmonary hypertension (PH) has been reported as a serious complication of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in children; however, estimated prevalence rates vary widely (zero to 85%). The purpose of this study is to determine the prevalence of PH in children with OSA and identify factors that may predict an increased PH risk in children with OSA.
A retrospective review of all pediatric beneficiaries (88,058) in the San Antonio Military Health System with a diagnosis of OSA and a clinical evaluation by a pediatric cardiologist. OSA severity and nadir oxygen saturation were recorded from overnight polysomnography. Reason for referral, comorbid disorders, echocardiogram results, and cardiac diagnoses were obtained from cardiology records.
OSA was identified in 2,020 pediatric patients (2.3%). A pediatric cardiology consultation was reported for 296 patients with OSA. After excluding 95 patients for incorrect OSA diagnoses, incomplete data, or OSA treatment before cardiology evaluation, 163 patients were included in the final analysis. A diagnosis of PH was found in 3 patients with OSA (1.8%). Two of these patients had obesity, and all three had comorbid cardiac disorders.
Prevalence of PH in pediatric patients with OSA is low and none of the patients with PH had severe OSA. Current guidelines recommend PH screening in patients with severe OSA, yet OSA severity may not accurately predict risk. Factors evaluated in this study did not demonstrate an increased PH risk; additional research is necessary to improve screening in pediatric patients with OSA.
Burns AT, Hansen SL, Turner ZS, Aden JK, Black AB, Hsu DP. Prevalence of pulmonary hypertension in pediatric patients with obstructive sleep apnea and a cardiology evaluation: a retrospective analysis. J Clin Sleep Med. 2019;15(8):1081–1087.