Sleep Medicine Practices in Pediatric Patients during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Keywords:COVID-19, children, sleep study, polysomnography
Objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic required precautions for infection control in sleep centers. Our aim was to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sleep medicine practices.
Methods: Data of patients undergoing polysomnography and positive airway pressure titration studies prior to (2019) and during the pandemic (2020) were analyzed. In addition, the effect of taking appropriate precautions and performing SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction testing on the safety of sleep medicine practices was investigated.
Results: The median age of the patients who underwent sleep studies (polysomnography + positive airway pressure titration studies) in 2019 was 7 (2.5-11.5) years (164 male, 147 female), whilst it was 9 (4-12) years (127 male, 84 female) in 2020. During the outbreak, the frequency of sleep studies increased from 3% (311 tests/10068 total number of outpatient visits in 2019) to 3.7% (211 tests/5666 in 2020). In contrast, the frequency of positive airway pressure titration studies declined from 31.8% (99 positive airway pressure titration studies/311 sleep studies) to 21.8% (46 positive airway pressure titration studies/211 sleep studies) in 2020 compared to 2019. Down syndrome was found to be the most common indication both in 2019 (20.9% of all tests) and 2020 (13.7%).
Conclusions: Polysomnographies were performed at a high rate despite the pandemic. However, positive airway pressure titration studies were avoided except for urgent indications because of the potential for aerosolization. In this study, it was shown that sleep studies can be performed safely when necessary precautions are taken.
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