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There are many ways you can help children and their families get the care they need.
If your child snores or has trouble breathing at night, it may not just mean that she’s a noisy sleeper. It could be a sign that she has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a common and treatable condition in which breathing is repeatedly blocked during sleep.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the upper airway (in the back of your child’s nose or throat) is blocked. This can cause one or more pauses in breathing during sleep. Although a child with OSA tries to breathe during these episodes of blockage, she doesn’t get enough air. This can disrupt sleep and may cause a decrease in the oxygen content of the blood.
OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea. It affects about 2 to 5 percent of children, infants and teenagers. Its most common symptoms are snoring, gasping and noisy or difficult breathing during sleep. OSA can also cause children to be unusually tired, irritable or hyperactive during the day or to perform below their potential at school.
OSA is generally very treatable with airway pressure devices, surgery or other therapies. At Boston Children’s Hospital, we treat OSA at our Sleep Center, through a team of board-certified sleep specialists with training in disciplines including pulmonary medicine, neurology and developmental medicine. Children whose sleep apnea is caused by enlargement of their adenoids and tonsils are also treated in the General Otolaryngology Program (ear, nose and throat specialists).
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”