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Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida
Sleep Apnea Might be Keeping Your Child from Sleeping Like a Baby
A common disorder seen in the adult population, obstructive sleep apnea also can affect children. Douglas Gottschalk, D.O., pediatric ear, nose and throat physician, says that even children younger than 1 year of age can experience this disorder.
“There are common symptoms that parents should be aware of,” Dr. Gottschalk explains. “Snoring, restless sleep, gagging or choking while sleeping, or pauses in breathing are general symptoms. Other signs often seen in older children are bedwetting, ADHD or the inability to stay awake during the school day.”
Dr. Gottschalk says a sleep study often is necessary to properly diagnose sleep apnea. “The sleep study is important because it helps define the severity of the sleep apnea, if that’s what is found,” he says. “This test helps us reach a definitive diagnosis and leads us to the right type of intervention.”
While the gold standard of treatment in the adult population is the continuous passive airway pressure machine, or CPAP, children—especially young children—may not tolerate the mask. But, Dr. Gottschalk says for the majority of children, removing the tonsils and/or adenoids cures the child of obstructive sleep apnea.
“Other interventions may be needed in children with persistent sleep apnea after tonsillectomy,” Dr. Gottschalk says. “In these cases, a thorough evaluation of the child’s airway is warranted—from the nose to the lungs—to rule out other conditions.”
New to The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, Dr. Gottschalk spent the last 8 years working as an ENT physician in the United States Air Force.
“The sleep study is important because it helps define the severity of the sleep apnea, if that’s what is found,” Dr. Gottschalk says.
Lullaby and Goodnight, Getting Baby to Sleep
Douglas Gottschalk, D.O.
Pediatric Ear, Nose and Throat
The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida
15901 Bass Road, Suite 102
Fort Myers, FL 33908