In the JournalsPerspective

Half of children with JIA in study had sleep apnea

In a study of 68 children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, about half had obstructive sleep apnea, according to recently published results.

Teresa M. Ward, PhD, associate professor at the University of Washington School of Nursing, and colleagues assessed 67 children who served as controls and 68 children who had juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). All children were aged between 6 years and 11 years. Children underwent 1 night of polysomnographic-measured sleep — in which researchers measured obstructive apnea hypopnea index (OAHI), number of wake bouts, arousals and periodic limb movements — and completed self-reported sleepiness surveys, sleep latency tests and neurobehavioral performance tests during the next day. Researchers assessed the effect of OAHI on neurobehavioral performance and adjusted for IQ, pain, medications, daytime sleepiness and wake bouts. The study included 35 children with JIA and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and 33 children with JIA but not OSA.

Researchers found mean OAHI and arousals were significantly higher in children with JIA and obstructive sleep apnea compared with controls and in those with JIA but not OSA. In addition, mean simple reaction time and sustained attention were slower in children with JIA and OSA compared with those with JIA and controls without OSA. However, these results were not significant.

In children with JIA, elevated OAHI may lead to daytime sleepiness and impaired neurobehavioral performance, the researchers concluded. – by Will Offit


Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

Tim Beukelman, MD, MSCE

Timothy Beukelman

  • In a convenience sample of children with JIA, the investigators found approximately half of the children to have evidence of obstructive sleep apnea. The reasons for this finding are unclear. A battery of tests of cognitive ability and neurobehavioral performance did not identify any significant differences between children with both JIA and sleep apnea and children with JIA but without sleep apnea. Nevertheless, it is important not to ignore other possible concurrent conditions among children with JIA.

    • Timothy Beukelman, MD, MSCE
    • University of Alabama at Birmingham
      Division of Rheumatology
  • Disclosures: Beukelman reports no relevant financial disclosures.