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Volume 15 No. 10
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Accepted Papers

Scientific Investigations

Current Practice Patterns in the Diagnosis and Management of Sleep-Disordered Breathing in Infants

Rachana Kombathula, MSIV1; David G. Ingram, MD2; Zarmina Ehsan, MD2
1School of Medicine, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri; 2Division of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, Children’s Mercy-Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri

Study Objectives:

Currently, there are no universally accepted guidelines for diagnosis and management of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in infants. The purpose of this study was to survey pediatric sleep medicine providers regarding their current practice patterns for diagnosis and management of SDB in infants.


An anonymous, web-based survey with 71 questions was distributed via the PEDSLEEP and Ped-Lung listserv, which serve as a hub of communication for pediatric sleep and pulmonary medicine providers worldwide.


Fifty-four providers from eight countries completed the survey. Ninety-six percent of providers reported performing sleep studies in infants with 53% performing more than 30 studies per year. There was no consensus on the definition of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in infants when using an obstructive apnea-hypopnea index (AHIo) cutoff: AHIo > 1 (30%), AHIo > 2 (35%), AHIo > 5 (24%), AHIo > 10 (2%) and other (9.3%). Thirty-six percent did not use pediatric criteria to define severity of OSA in infants. Opinions regarding management of five typical SDB cases were solicited and the results varied among respondents. Most of the providers (89%) thought that more research is needed to gather normative sleep data in infants and that their practice would benefit from evidence- based guidelines for diagnosis and management of SDB in infants (98%).


These results demonstrate substantial variability in practice patterns for diagnosis and management of SDB in infants. Further research and consensus guidelines are needed to ensure optimal care for infants with SDB.


Kombathula R, Ingram DG, Ehsan Z. Current practice patterns in the diagnosis and management of sleep-disordered breathing in infants. J Clin Sleep Med. 2019;15(10):1427–1431.

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