Respiratory Disturbances in Rett Syndrome: Don't Forget to Evaluate Upper Airway Obstruction

Eveline E. O. Hagebeuk, Rob P. G. M. Bijlmer, Johannes H. T. M. Koelman, Bwee Tien Poll-The

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Rett syndrome is characterized by loss of motor and social functions, development of stereotypic hand movements, seizures, and breathing disturbances. This study evaluates the presence of overnight respiratory disturbances. Polysomnography in combination with a questionnaire (the Sleep Disturbance Scale for Children) was performed in 12 Dutch patients with Rett. Respiratory disturbances were present in all, clinically relevant in 10 (apnea hypopnea per hour 1.0-14.5). In 8 children, central apneas were present during the day often with obstructive apneas at night. In 6, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome was diagnosed, in 3 severe, with frequent oxygen desaturations. Significant respiratory complaints were present in 3 patients, all had obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Of the 12 patients with Rett, 8 (67%) snored, and in 5 obstructive sleep apnea syndrome was present. In children, hypertrophied tonsils and adenoids are a common cause of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, which may benefit from therapeutic intervention. We recommend performing polysomnography in patients with Rett syndrome and respiratory complaints
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)888-892
JournalJournal of Child Neurology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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