Central Sleep Apnea

Central Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

The main cause of death in children with central sleep apnea is sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a well-known risk factor for developing central sleep apnea.

The most common causes of sudden infant death syndrome are suffocation or strangulation, accidental injury, asphyxia due to overheating, and other conditions such as pneumonia. Other causes include head trauma, infection, and other medical problems.

Central sleep apnea is a condition where the airway does not close completely during sleep. The airway may partially or fully open during sleep.

When it opens completely, it results in unconsciousness due to respiratory failure.

The symptoms of central sleep apnea include snoring, frequent daytime naps, waking up several times throughout the night, and difficulty falling asleep. The breathing pattern is irregular and pauses frequently.

These characteristics are similar to those of SIDS victims. However, these signs do not necessarily mean that someone will develop central sleep apnea.

Treatment-emergent central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs during childhood. It is a serious condition that requires urgent medical attention.

It usually responds well to treatment.

In certain cases, central sleep apnea may be confused with other conditions like heart disease, a tissue mass in the throat, or other developmental issues.

Diagnosing Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea may be difficult to detect. It is important to seek medical attention if you or your child displays the above symptoms.

You should see a doctor to determine if your baby has central sleep apnea. The doctor will ask questions about your or your child’s medical history and perform a physical examination.

The doctor will listen to your or your child’s breathing while sleeping. The doctor may also check the oxygen levels and heart rate while sleeping.

An electrocardiogram (ECG) may be taken to monitor the heart. A chest x-ray may also be taken to look for a mass in the throat.

These tests are not always necessary to detect central sleep apnea. Your physician may ask you or your child to return for another visit if further tests are required.

Treatment for Central Sleep Apnea

There is no cure for central sleep apnea. The best treatment option is to treat the symptoms.

In certain cases, a child may have a tonsillectomy to remove any masses in the throat. Your physician may also suggest that your child use a breathing device at night such as a CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) machine. This may help keep the airway open while sleeping.

Some doctors may also prescribe medication to help with sleep apnea. There is a wide range of drugs that can help with sleep apnea.

The most common are the following:


Oral appliances

CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) devices

Surgery is not typically performed to treat central sleep apnea. However, surgical procedures may be used to prevent or treat SIDS.

The above treatments can improve life for someone with central sleep apnea. Most people can lead a normal life with the right treatment plan.

Outlook for Central Sleep Apnea

Most people with central sleep apnea can lead a normal life if treated properly. However, this condition can be fatal if not treated correctly.

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is a risk factor in children with central sleep apnea.

Sources & references used in this article:

Continuous positive airway pressure for central sleep apnea and heart failure by TD Bradley, AG Logan, RJ Kimoff… – … England Journal of …, 2005 – Mass Medical Soc

Pathogenesis of obstructive and central sleep apnea by DP White – American journal of respiratory and critical care …, 2005 – atsjournals.org

Sleep apnea and heart failure: Part II: central sleep apnea by TD Bradley, JS Floras – Circulation, 2003 – Am Heart Assoc