The Journal of Laryngology & Otology

Main Articles

Healthcare provider contact for children with symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing: a population survey

G Gudnadottira1, A Ehnhagea2a3, M Bendea4, M Anderssona5, A Cervina7, L O Cardella6 and J Hellgrena1 c1

a1 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Institution for Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden

a2 Department of Clinical Sciences, Intervention and Technology, Division Otorhinolaryngology, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

a3 Nacka Närsjukhus Proxima, Stockholm, Sweden

a4 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Central Hospital, Skövde, Sweden

a5 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery, Skåne University Hospital, Lund and Malmö, Sweden

a6 Division of ENT Diseases, Department of Clinical Sciences, Intervention and Technology, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden

a7 Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital, School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Australia


Background: Symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing in children, such as frequent snoring, apnoea and choking, may lead to health problems if untreated. The caregiver's level of awareness of these symptoms has been poorly studied. This study aimed to study healthcare provider contact related to sleep-disordered breathing symptoms in a population of children aged 0–11 years.

Methods: A total of 1320 children were randomly selected from a national database that included all children living in Sweden. Caregivers answered a questionnaire about sleep-disordered breathing symptoms during the last month and healthcare provider contact related to these symptoms.

Results: A total of 754 answers were received. The prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing symptoms was 4.8 per cent. Of this subgroup, 69 per cent had not been in contact with a healthcare provider regarding their symptoms.

Conclusion: This study shows that sleep-disordered breathing in children is underestimated and that there is a need to increase caregiver and healthcare provider awareness of sleep-disordered breathing in children.

(Accepted September 15 2015)

(Online publication December 17 2015)

Key words

  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes;
  • Snoring;
  • Self Report;
  • Health Services Accessibility;
  • Pediatrics


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr J Hellgren, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Gröna Stråket 9, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, SE-413 45 Göteborg, Sweden Fax: +46 31 82 56 79 E-mail:


  Dr J Hellgren takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper

Competing interests: None declared