Obstructive sleep apnea may lead to disordered sleep architecture and impair the physiologic slow wave sleep related growth hormone release. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs with craniofacial syndromes and in children with airway narrowing, pharyngeal hypoplasia, tonsillar adenoidal hypertrophy, micrognathia and achondroplasia. To examine the relationship between disordered sleep and growth hormone release we studied a 9 year old male with achondroplasia, growth failure (3 cm/year) and obstructive sleep apnea., Polysomnography data and a 20 min sampling for sleep entrained growth hormone showed before therapeutic tracheostomy numerous apneic episodes, absent slow wave sleep and abnormal low growth hormone secretion during sleep. Normalized slow wave sleep entrained growth hormone secretion after tracheostomy led to a sustained increase in growth rate. Normal growth rate (>5 cm/year) continues 2 years after tracheostomy. We conclude that obstructive sleep apnea may impair sleep related growth hormone release. Obstructive sleep apnea may be a useful model for other diseases in which growth failure and sleep disturbances are linked.
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