Screening for Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children With Sickle Cell Disease: A Pilot Study

Andrew J. Maroda, Matthew N. Spence, Stephen R. Larson, Jeremie H. Estepp, M. Boyd Gillespie, Atia J. Harris, Madhu P. Mamidala, Anthony M. Sheyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and sickle cell disease (SCD) represent two complex disease processes. Current guidelines recommend that children with SCD receive polysomnography (PSG) after presenting with signs or symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB). Recent studies suggest a disproportionately elevated prevalence of SDB in the population of children with SCD, and traditional risk factors may not be evident within these patients. Further objective testing might be needed to screen all pediatric patients with SCD, even in the absence of overt signs or symptoms of OSA to prevent complications of both conditions. Study Design: Prospective cohort study. Methods: Institutional review board approval was obtained. An eight-question OSA risk assessment screening questionnaire was presented prospectively to 100 consecutive patients with SCD in the pediatric hematology clinic regardless of complaints of SDB. Results: Out of 100 patients, 51 were female. The average age, body mass index (BMI), BMI percentile, and I'M SLEEPY score of the entire cohort were 3.97 years, 15.97%, 55.4%, and 1.63%, respectively. Nineteen patients had a positive sleep apnea screening score and were referred for PSG. The average age BMI, BMI percentile, and I'M SLEEPY score for those 19 patients were 3.77%, 16.67%, 65%, and 3.95%, respectively. Ten patients completed PSG, with seven diagnosed with OSA. Conclusions: This pilot study demonstrates a higher incidence of SDB and OSA in children with SCD relative to the general pediatric population. Although more PSG reports and further testing is needed to determine whether the results hold, preliminary data indicate that children with SCD should at least undergo OSA screening in the office regardless of overt symptoms. Level of Evidence: 3 Laryngoscope, 131:E1022–E1028, 2021.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1022-E1028
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • hematology
  • otolaryngology
  • pediatric
  • polysomnography
  • screening questionnaire
  • sickle cell disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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