Snoring in a cohort of obese children: association with palate position and nocturnal desaturations

Marco Zaffanello, Giorgio Piacentini, Emma Gasperi, Claudio Maffeis, Cristiano Fava, Sara Bonafini, Angela Tagetti, Franco Antoniazzi


Purpose of the study: Frequency of habitual snoring is significantly higher in obese than in normal-weight subjects. Obesity and adeno-tonsillar size are risk factors of snoring. Other factors, such as fat distribution and upper airway collapsibility, could explain the relationship between obesity, snoring and obtructive sleep apneas. The aim of the study was to investigate clinical and instrumental significance of snoring in exogenous obese children referred to our department.

Methodology: This preliminary study takes part of a larger prospective respiratory sleep study. In 36 consecutive obese children (18 males), body mass index (BMI), BMI Z score and neck circumference were calculated according to age and sex. Nasal patency, tonsil size, palate position scoring were also recorded. An overnight polygraphy was performed using a portable ambulatory device. Statistical analysis was done using SPSS® Statistics 19.0 software for Windows®.

Main findings: Snoring, objectively measured by polygraphy, was associated with palate position and with oxygen desaturation index (ODI). The correlation between snoring and ODI completely disappeared when adjusting for palate position scoring.

Key conclusions: Low palate position can be identified as an adjunctive, although not unique, factor that can contribute to making snoring and increased desaturation events possibly related to increased risk of upper airway collapsibility during sleep in obese children.


snoring; obesity; children; palate position; polygraphy

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