Dr. Kalra and colleagues from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati evaluated 681 children (median age 12.6 months) and their atopic parents to determine the prevalence of habitual snoring in infants born to atopic parents and to assess the relationship between habitual snoring, atopic status, and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Parents also completed a questionnaire pertaining both to their snoring and snoring in their child.
Habitual snoring was reported in 15 percent of children, and atopy was seen in 29 percent of children. Among parents, habitual snoring was reported in 20 percent of mothers and 46 percent of fathers. An increased prevalence of habitual snoring was reported in children with atopy (21.5 percent vs 13 percent), in African-American children (31 vs 11.6 percent), and in children with a parental history of habitual snoring (21.8 vs 7.7 percent). Overall, infants who habitually snored were nearly three times as likely to have a parent who habitually snored and twice as likely to present with atopic status. Habitual snorers also were more than three times as likely to be African-American. No association was found between habitual snoring and ETS.
"Atopic status as an infant or child has been associated with an increased risk for allergy and future development of asthma," said Dr. Kalra. "Knowledge about the effect of allergic respiratory diseases on sleep-disordered breathing can enhance our understanding of development of sleep- disordered breathing and reduce morbidity by awareness of high-risk groups."
Of the children included in the study, 55 percent were male, 80 percent were Caucasian, 17 percent were African-American, and 3 percent were biracial or Asian. Habitual snoring was defined as snoring e3 times per week. Atopic status was determined by skin prick testing. Positive maternal or household ETS exposure was defined as consumption of one or more cigarettes per day by the mother or any household member.
"Untreated, childhood sleep-disordered breathing can have a significant effect on a child's health, behavior, and cognitive development," said W. Michael Alberts, MD, FCCP, President of the American College of Chest Physicians. "By knowing potential risk factors for sleep-disordered breathing in children, clinicians can identify high-risk groups and educate patients and families on how to modify risk factors before they have a long-term impact on health."