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Although unrecognized, obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) in children has existed for a long time and in 1889 Hill published a paper explaining the symptoms of OSA in children with nasal and pharyngeal obstructions (1).

According to the ENT-UK (the British Association of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery), about a quarter of the 27,400 paediatric tonsillectomies in 2008-9 in the UK were carried out for obstructive conditions (1).

Cross sectional studies carried out in the UK revealed that 12 % of children were habitual snorers out of which 0.7 % had obstructive sleep apnoea (2)

  • so it can be said that around one in 100 children on the average GP list will have OSA which increases to approximately one in 10 of those who snore habitually

Prevalence of OSA around the world is estimated to be between 1 and 2% (2)


(1) Powell S et al. Paediatric obstructive sleep apnoea. BMJ. 2010;340:c1918

(2) Powell S. Clinical review: Paediatric obstructive sleep apnoea. GPonline 2011

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