Friday, August 23, 2013

Sleep problems and heart function in children

A study of blood pressure and sleep problems in children found that there was no association between the two conditions.

The study aims to assess the associations of sleep problems with 24–hour ambulatory blood pressure and cardiovascular reactivity in children. The results suggest that in a healthy community sample of prepubertal children, sleep problems are not associated with an unhealthy cardiovascular phenotype at this age. However, associations may be underestimated because of the low prevalence of sleep breathing disorders in this sample and may not generalize to older populations.
  • Sleep problems in 285 term-born, healthy 8-year-olds (mean [standard deviation]=8.1 [0.3]years) were measured with a parent-rated Sleep Disturbance Scale for Children.
  • Ambulatory blood pressure (n=241) was measured for 24hours (41% nonschool days) with an oscillometric device.
  • The children (n=274) underwent the Trier Social Stress Test for Children during which blood pressure, electrocardiography, and thoracic impedance were recorded and processed offline to give measures of cardiovascular and autonomic function.
  • No associations were found between sleep problems and 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure.
  • Children with sleep breathing disorders (n=5) had higher baseline sympathetic vascular activity (p=.014) and higher heart rate (p=.044) and sympathetic cardiac activity (p=.031) in reaction to stress.
  • Children with disorders of excessive somnolence (n=55) had higher baseline parasympathetic activity (p=.016).
  • None of the associations remained significant after controlling for multiple testing.
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