Which specialist consultations are beneficial to patients with childhood obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

Updated: Feb 13, 2019
  • Author: Mary E Cataletto, MD; Chief Editor: Denise Serebrisky, MD  more...
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Teams of pediatric specialists often collaborate in the care of infants and children with sleep apnea. Members of the following specialty groups have specific expertise that may help the primary care physician coordinate the care of their patient with sleep apnea:

  • Pediatric sleep medicine

  • Pediatric otolaryngology

  • Pediatric plastic surgery

  • Orthognathic surgery

  • Pediatric neurosurgery

  • Pediatric anesthesia

  • PICU

  • Pediatric endocrinology

  • Pediatric pulmonology

  • Pediatric cardiology

For the otherwise healthy child with enlarged tonsils and adenoids, consultation with a pediatric sleep specialist and referral to a pediatric sleep laboratory for diagnosis are usually sufficient.

When findings support the existence of obstructive sleep apnea, refer the patient to a pediatric otolaryngologist for adenotonsillectomy and take appropriate perioperative and postoperative precautions in higher-risk groups. When obesity is present, refer the patient to a nutritional intervention program. Similarly, pursue echocardiography and input from a pediatric cardiologist when pulmonary hypertension is clinically suspected.

When craniofacial syndromes or neuromuscular disorders are the major cause of obstructive sleep apnea, a multidisciplinary approach is mandatory for improved outcomes.

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