Diagnosis at Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff


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Pediatricians work with doctors trained in sleep medicine and other specialists to diagnose children with pediatric obstructive sleep apnea.

To diagnose your child's condition, your doctor will review your child's symptoms and medical history and conduct a physical examination. Because pediatric obstructive sleep apnea diagnostic tests and treatments differ from that of adults, it's important to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

Your child's doctor may also order several tests to diagnose pediatric obstructive sleep apnea.

Tests may include:

  • Polysomnogram. Doctors may evaluate your child's condition during an overnight sleep study at the Center for Sleep Medicine at Mayo Clinic's campus in Minnesota. A sleep study (polysomnogram) uses sensors applied to the surface of the body to record brain wave activity, breathing patterns, snoring, oxygen levels, heart rate and muscle activity while your child sleeps.
  • Oximetry. If doctors strongly suspect obstructive sleep apnea, and a full polysomnogram is not needed, an overnight recording of oxygen levels in the home setting may help make the diagnosis. Sometimes the oximetry test fails to give the diagnosis, in which case your child will need to have a polysomnogram.
  • Electrocardiogram. In an electrocardiogram, sensor patches with wires attached (electrodes) measure the electrical impulses given off by your child's heart. Doctors may use this test to determine if your child has an underlying heart condition.
Sept. 24, 2015