Sleep-disordered breathing in Australian children with Prader-Willi syndrome following initiation of growth hormone therapy

Daan Caudri, Gillian M Nixon, Aleisha Nielsen, Linda Mai, Claire R Hafekost, Nitin Kapur, Chris Seton, Andrew Tai, Greg Blecher, Geoff Ambler, Philip B Bergman, Komal A Vora, Patricia Crock, Charles F Verge, Elaine Tham, Yassmin Musthaffa, Antony R Lafferty, Peter Jacoby, Andrew C Wilson, Jenny DownsCatherine S Choong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


AIM: In children with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), growth hormone (GH) improves height and body composition; however, may be associated with worsening sleep-disordered breathing (SDB). Some studies have reported less SDB after GH initiation, but follow-up with polysomnography is still advised in most clinical guidelines.

METHODS: This retrospective, multicentre study, included children with PWS treated with GH at seven PWS treatment centres in Australia over the last 18 years. A paired analysis comparing polysomnographic measures of central and obstructive SDB in the same child, before and after GH initiation was performed with Wilcoxon signed-rank test. The proportion of children who developed moderate/severe obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) was calculated with their binomial confidence intervals.

RESULTS: We included 112 patients with available paired data. The median age at start of GH was 1.9 years (range 0.1-13.5 years). Median obstructive apnoea hypopnoea index (AHI) at baseline was 0.43/h (range 0-32.9); 35% had an obstructive AHI above 1.0/h. Follow-up polysomnography within 2 years after the start of GH was available in 94 children who did not receive OSA treatment. After GH initiation, there was no change in central AHI. The median obstructive AHI did not increase significantly (P = 0.13), but 12 children (13%, CI95% 7-21%) developed moderate/severe OSA, with clinical management implications.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings of a worsening of OSA severity in 13% of children with PWS support current advice to perform polysomnography after GH initiation. Early identification of worsening OSA may prevent severe sequelae in a subgroup of children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-255
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue number2
Early online date16 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


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