International Journal Publishes Resident Review on Relationship between Sleep Apnea and ADHD

International Journal Publishes Resident Review on Relationship between Sleep Apnea and ADHD

(Madera, Calif.) – A review of the link between pediatric obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) coauthored by second year pediatric resident Dr. Youmna Moufarrej was recently published in Children, an international, peer-reviewed, open access journal of pediatric medical science.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a type of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) that happens when there is a partial or complete obstruction of the upper airway that results in a disruption to normal breathing during sleep. If left untreated, OSA can negatively impact a child’s health and development. Poor sleep quality from untreated OSA can lead to learning and behavioral problems leading to difficulties in school. The long-term health consequences, or sequelae, of untreated OSA can include metabolic abnormalities and complications in the cardiovascular system. Research has shown that children with SDB symptoms – especially those with OSA – show symptoms of ADHD at a higher rate than children without SDB symptoms.

Dr. Moufarrej’s review summarized existing research that analyzes the relationship between OSA and ADHD. To do this, she conducted a literature search of electronic medical journals for articles containing terms related to sleep apnea and ADHD in pediatric patients.

“Conducting a literature review is a unique experience,” said Dr. Moufarrej. “It gives you the opportunity to read about studies performed by people all over the world and consolidate them into one place so that the rest of the medical community can have access to it as well.”

Dr. Moufarrej’s analysis revealed several studies illustrating that adenotonsillectomy was shown to be effective at improving ADHD symptoms in the short term. She also found that more studies are needed to evaluate if other treatments for OSA, including positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy, are effective at treating ADHD in young patients with OSA. Additionally, Dr. Moufarrej and her coauthors concluded that further studies are needed to determine the long-term effectiveness of OSA therapies on reducing ADHD symptoms in children with OSA.

Valley Children’s pediatric pulmonologist Dr. Mary Anne Tablizo mentored Dr. Moufarrej in writing the review and served as one of the piece’s coauthors.

“Dr. Moufarrej immediately accepted to be coauthor on this paper despite her hectic schedule,” said Dr. Tablizo. “Simply put, she is a pleasure to work with. Throughout the process, Dr. Moufarrej contributed great ideas, diligently searched the literature and was invaluable to the editing process.”

Dr. Moufarrej, a native of Shreveport, Louisiana, will graduate from Valley Children’s Pediatric Residency Program with the Class of 2023.

“From the moment I first stepped foot in Valley Children’s Hospital, I could immediately sense how much the faculty and residents loved what they do,” said Dr. Moufarrej. “Their passion for patient care, commitment to advocacy in the community, and desire to educate the next generation of pediatricians all drew me to pursue my residency training at this inspiring hospital.”

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