Quality sleep is an essential component of a child's health and well-being. The Sleep Diagnostic Center Team at St. Louis Children's Hospital is committed to helping children with a variety of sleep-related problems achieve optimum health.
- The Sleep Diagnostic Center at St. Louis Children's Hospital has been in operation since 1993. A new, expanded facility was opened late 2008 and is located on the ninth floor of the hospital.
- Four sleep rooms include video and infrared monitoring equipment allowing direct patient observation and are fully equipped to perform the most complete array of testing available.
- The latest computerized equipment is used to gather test data and analyze events. Results are carefully reviewed by a technologist and interpreted by a physician. The Center is adjacent to the inpatient medical unit, which is staffed with physicians and nurses 24 hours per day.
- The Center is sound-proof, and has been designed to provide as natural and home-like an atmosphere as possible.
- The Sleep Diagnostic Center offers a dedicated team of physicians and assistants with many years of experience in treating pediatric sleep disorders. Depending on the complexity of each case, the staff of the Sleep Diagnostic Center may, as needed, consult with other St. Louis Children's Hospital physicians from allergy/pulmonary medicine, otolaryngology, genetics, pediatric neurology, psychology, and plastic surgery to fully address the patients' needs.
- The Sleep Diagnostic Center professionals are specially trained to calm the fears of nervous young patients, to provide quality, kid-focused care and to help children get well, all in the comfort of a relaxed, non-threatening environment.
While each patient has unique needs and conditions, some general disorders treated by the Sleep Diagnostics Lab are:
- Central apnea -- Cessation of airflow at the mouth or nose because of a decrease in or absence of respiratory effort, most commonly seen in infants or patients with neurologic disorders.
- Central alveolar hypoventilation -- Inadequate respiratory drive during sleep to maintain normal gas exchange (oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood), which may occur in episodic form in many patients, but in a continuous, more severe form in a small subset of patients.
- Obstructive apnea syndrome -- A clinical condition that may occur at any age, usually associated with snoring (except in infancy) and manifested by increased work of breathing and repeated episodes of partial or complete obstruction to airflow through the mouth and nose during sleep.
- Chronic respiratory failure -- Select infants and children may require nightly (or more frequent) mechanical ventilary support due to a disease involving the central nervous system, respiratory muscles, chest wall and/or lungs. The most important and reliable time to assess the adequacy of the patient's ventilary assistance is during sleep.
- Narcolepsy -- Excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, sleep paralysis and hypnagogic hallucinations, usually occurring in adolescence or early adulthood.
- Rhythmic movement disorders -- Body rocking, head banging, head rolling.
Treatments for sleep-associated disorders
- CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) Studies: Delivering a continuous flow of air from a machine into a mask placed over the nose. The air pressure keeps the airways open, decreasing snoring and preventing apnea.
- In addition to treating specific disorders in the lab, staff members can provide parents with support and educational materials to continue the healing at home.