Phenotypic variance in pediatric obstructive sleep apnea

Abstract

It is crucial that clinicians understand what underpins the considerable phenotypic variance in pediatric obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), if they are to implement individually tailored phenotype-based approaches to diagnosis and management. This review summarizes the current literature on how disease severity, comorbidities, genetic and environmental/lifestyle factors interact to determine the overall OSAS phenotype. The first part discusses the impact of these factors on OSAS-related morbidity in the context of otherwise healthy children, whilst the second half details children with complex conditions, particularly focusing on the anatomical and functional abnormalities predisposing to upper airway obstruction unique to each condition. One can then understand the need for a multidimensional assessment strategy for pediatric OSAS; one that incorporates the history, physical examination, sleep study results, and biomarkers to enable precise stratification, so vital for effective determination of the timing and the nature of the therapeutic interventions required.