Urine Test May Spot Sleep Apnea in Children
Urine Test May Tell the Difference Between Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Children
Dec. 8, 2009 -- A urine test may offer an easier way to tell the difference
between a simple snoring problem and more serious obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
in children, according to new research.
Habitual snoring is a common condition in children and affects up to 12% of
school-aged children. But obstructive sleep apnea is a rarer and potentially
Up to 3% of children under age 10 suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, with
symptoms like snoring caused by partial or complete obstruction of the upper
airways during sleep. If untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can lead to
learning, behavioral, and other health problems.
That’s why researchers say it’s essential to differentiate between the two
conditions. However, current methods to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea in
children are inconvenient and expensive, requiring overnight observation and
A new study, published in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical
Care Medicine, may open the way for a simple urine test to help diagnose
obstructive sleep apnea in children by screening for a group of specific
proteins found in children with OSA.
In the study, researchers analyzed morning urine proteins from 60 children
with confirmed obstructive sleep apnea, 30 children with habitual snoring, and
30 non-snoring healthy children. The urine samples were screened for hundreds
of proteins and found a number of proteins were differently expressed in
children with OSA.
"These findings open up the possibility of developing a relatively simple
urine test that could detect OSA in snoring children. This would alleviate the
need for costly and inconvenient sleep studies in children who snore, only
about 20% to 30% of whom actually have OSA," says researcher David Gozal, MD,
professor and chairman of the pediatrics department at the University of
"We wish to validate these findings in urine samples from many children from
laboratories around the country and to develop a simple color-based test that
can be done in the physician office or by the parents," Gozal says.