Monitoring Oxygen Levels Could Help with Pediatric Sleep Apnea

Monitoring Oxygen Levels Could Help with Pediatric Sleep Apnea

Babies with sleep apnea, which may be indicated by severe habitual snoring, are often not diagnosed or treated. Using a thorough test for blood oxygen levels is the most effective way to identify those infants who would benefit from treatment.

Because traditional techniques for diagnosing infant sleep apnea can be very expensive and may not even be available in all areas, the problem can go undetected and untreated. The cost alone of the overnight stay and small number of pediatric sleep specialists add to the problem. New research shows that a less rigorous analysis of blood oxygen levels is the better approach for evaluating infant sleep apnea.

The data collected on the infants includes blood oxygen level from a pulse oximeter and heart rate. The pulse oximeter measures oxygen levels in the blood via a small monitor which fits loosely to the infant’s finger. This approach may cut costs by over 90% by removing the need for analysis of the heart, eye movement, muscle tension, brain activity and even video monitoring.

The study involved 4000 participants’ data and found that outside of monitoring blood oxygen levels, the remaining data didn’t add anything to the diagnosis processes or results. Whereas 3-5% of children have sleep apnea, the oxygen blood level monitoring approach correctly uncovers 75-90% of cases, with increased accuracy for worse cases.

Key Points:

  • 1Children with sleep apnea go largely undiagnosed, due to the lack of certified pediatric sleep specialists and sleep labs.
  • 2Current sleep study methodology can include videotaping, which involves several specialists and is very expensive.
  • 3By reviewing cases involving more than 4000 youngsters with sleep apnea, researchers verified that measures beyond oximetry offered little additional merit.


The study, Nocturnal Oximetry-Based Evaluation of Habitually Snoring Children, proved that the simplified process compared well to a regular sleep study, and this could cut health care costs by 90-95%.
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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our health risk assessment, body fat and calories burned calculators.The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.
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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our health risk assessment, body fat and calories burned calculators. The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.

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