CASE HISTORY – November 2010

Risk factors of obstructive sleep apnoea are often present in childhood. An overview and a case report


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Repetitive episodes of sleep apnoea, defined as brief pauses of breathing or periods of slow breathing, can lead to structural disorders of sleep which result in daytime tiredness and various of psychiatric and physical disorders. The sleep apnoea syndrome combines a multiple range of clinical symptoms caused by sleeptime breathing disorders. The most frequent form of sleep apnoea is obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) represented by sleep time episodes of upper respiratory tract closure. Anatomical variations of the upper respiratory tract, hypertrophy of the pharyngeal muscle tissue, and obesity  are the main risk factors that contribute to development of OSA. These OSA risk factors are often present in childhood and, if left unrecognized and untreated, can lead to OSA in later ages. We present a case of a 24-year-old male patient with severe OSA. OSA risk factors, including obesity and several anatomical characteristics, leading to the narrowing of the oropharyngeal region, were present in his childhood. The patient was effectively treated with CPAP. At a later date, uvulopalatopharyngoplasty was performed and the patient was referred for orthodontic consultation.