Do respiratory cycle-related EEG changes or arousals from sleep predict neurobehavioral deficits and response to adenotonsillectomy in children?

Document Type


Publication Date



Study Objectives: Pediatric obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with hyperactive behavior, cognitive deficits, psychiatric morbidity, and sleepiness, but objective polysomnographic measures of OSA presence or severity among children scheduled for adenotonsillectomy have not explained why. To assess whether sleep fragmentation might explain neurobehavioral outcomes, we prospectively assessed the predictive value of standard arousals and also respiratory cycle-related EEG changes (RCREC), thought to refl ect inspiratory microarousals. Methods: Washtenaw County Adenotonsillectomy Cohort II participants included children (ages 3-12 years) scheduled for adenotonsillectomy, for any clinical indication. At enrollment and again 7.2 ± 0.9 (SD) months later, children had polysomnography, a multiple sleep latency test, parent-completed behavioral rating scales, cognitive testing, and psychiatric evaluation. The RCREC were computed as previously described for delta, theta, alpha, sigma, and beta EEG frequency bands. Results: Participants included 133 children, 109 with OSA (apnea-hypopnea index [AHI] ≥ 1.5, mean 8.3 ± 10.6) and 24 without OSA (AHI 0.9 ± 0.3). At baseline, the arousal index and RCREC showed no consistent, significant associations with neurobehavioral morbidities, among all subjects or the 109 with OSA. At follow-up, the arousal index, RCREC, and neurobehavioral measures all tended to improve, but neither baseline measure of sleep fragmentation effectively predicted outcomes (all p > 0.05, with only scattered exceptions, among all subjects or those with OSA). Conclusion: Sleep fragmentation, as refl ected by standard arousals or by RCREC, appears unlikely to explain neurobehavioral morbidity among children who undergo adenotonsillectomy. Clinical Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, ID: NCT00233194.

Publication Title

Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine