Sleep-Disordered Breathing Is Common Among Children With Severe Asthma

Sleep-disordered breathing is common among children with severe asthma.

Sleep-disordered breathing is common among children with severe asthma, according to a study results published in the Journal of Asthma.

Children with severe asthma are underrepresented in studies of the relationship of SDB and asthma, and little is known about sex differences of these relationships. Therefore, researchers sought to determine the relationship of SDB with asthma control and lung function among boys and girls attending clinic visits at the Boston Children’s Hospital Pediatric Severe Asthma Program. Children completed the Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire (PSQ), the Asthma Control Test (ACT), and spirometry. The prevalence of SDB was defined as a PSQ score more than 0.33. Of the 37 participants, the mean age was 11.8 years, 23 (62.2%) were boys, and the prevalence of SDB was 43.2% (16/37).

In all 80 observations, there was a moderate negative correlation between PSQ and ACT scores (P <.001). Multivariable linear regression models revealed a significant sex interaction with PSQ on asthma control (P =.003), such that for each 0.10-point increase in PSQ there was a 1.88-point decrease in ACT score for girls but only a 0.21-point decrease in ACT score for boys. A positive PSQ screen was associated with a 9.44 point (P <.001) lower ACT score for girls and a 3.22 point (P =.02) lower score for boys.

“We found that SDB is highly prevalent among children with severe asthma and that there is a strong and important association between SDB and asthma control,” the study authors concluded. “Prompt diagnosis and appropriate management of SDB among children with severe asthma may lead to improved asthma control, in addition to other well-known direct effects of treatment of SDB or [obstructive sleep apnea].”


Gunnlaugsson S, Greco KF, Petty CR, et al. Sex differences in the relationship of sleep-disordered breathing and asthma control among children with severe asthma. J Asthma. Published online March 23, 2021. doi:10.1080/02770903.2021.1897838