MONDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- The rate of sleep diagnoses for children given by primary care providers is lower than prevalence rates reported in epidemiological studies, suggesting that these providers may be under-diagnosing sleep disorders in pediatric patients, according to research published online May 10 in Pediatrics.
Lisa J. Meltzer, Ph.D., of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues reviewed the medical records for 154,957 pediatric patients (aged 0 to 18 years) to gather information on demographics, sleep disorder diagnoses (as defined by the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision [ICD-9]), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders (ASD), provider type, and medications.
Overall, the researchers found that 3.7 of the patients had a sleep disorder diagnosis, most commonly an unspecified one (1.4 percent), followed by nocturnal enuresis (1.2 percent) and sleep-disordered breathing (1.0 percent). The leading predictors for a sleep disorder diagnosis included smaller head circumference in infants; ASD in toddlers; higher body mass index in preschool and school-age children and adolescents; and ADHD or ASD in school-age children and adolescents. Provider type was a predictor for most age groups. Just 6.1 percent of subjects were prescribed potential sleep-related medications.
"The 3.7 percent of patients with ICD-9 sleep diagnoses is significantly lower than prevalence rates reported in epidemiological studies, which suggests that primary care providers may be under-diagnosing sleep disorders in children and adolescents. Because sleep disorders are treatable when recognized, the results from this study suggest a significant need for additional education and support for primary care providers in the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric sleep disorders," the authors write.
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