Anuja Bandyopadhyay, MD: Understanding the Risk of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Infants

Infants with obstructive sleep apnea may also be at an increased risk of negative outcomes associated with COVID-19.

There remains a knowledge gap as to why some infants develop obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and present different symptoms than older children.

In a retrospective chart review planned for presentation at the American Thoracic Society (ATS) 2020 International Conference, investigators from the Riley Children’s Hospital at Indiana University Health, are trying to understand this patient population better in an effort to improve care and treatment.

One of the potential reasons the knowledge of infants with the disease is low is because it was previously thought that sleep apnea in older children is similar to having sleep apnea in infants.

However, in infants it is now known that the upper airway is more collapsible and softer in infants. It isn’t until an infant is 1 or 2 years old that their airways strengthen.

Knowing this about the anatomy of infants can further the understanding of how they can be impacted by sleep apnea.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Anuja Bandyopadhyay, MD, Pediatric Pulmonology, Allergy and Sleep Medicine, Riley Children’s Hospital, acknowledged what those knowledge gaps are in terms of treatment and understanding of the disease and how researchers can begin to close this gap.

Another area of concern is the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Bandyopadhyay explained how infants with obstructive sleep apnea could be at a higher risk of some of the more negative outcomes associated with the virus than infants who do not have OSA.