Respiratory and polysomnographic values in 3-to 5-year-old normal children at higher altitude

Casey J. Burg, Hawley E. Montgomery-Downs, Pamela Mettler, David Gozal, Ann C. Halbower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Study Objectives: To determine polysomnographic parameter differences in children living at higher altitude to children living near sea level. Design and Setting: Prospective study of non-snoring, normal children recruited from various communities around Denver, CO. In-lab, overnight polysomnograms were performed at a tertiary care children's hospital. All children required residence for greater than one year at an elevation around 1,600 meters. Participants: 45 children (62% female), aged 3-5 years, 88.9% non-Hispanic white with average BMI percentile for age of 47.8% ± 30.7%. Measurements and Results: Standard sleep indices were obtained and compared to previously published normative values in a similar population living near sea level (SLG). In the altitude group (AG), the apnea-hypopnea index was 1.8 ± 1.2 and the central apnea-hypopnea index was 1.7 ± 1.1, as compared to 0.9 ± 0.8 and 0.8 ± 0.7, respectively, (P ≥ 0.005) in SLG. Mean end-tidal CO2 level in AG was 42.3 ± 3.0 mm Hg and 40.6 ± 4.6 mm Hg in SLG (P = 0.049). The ≥ 4% desaturation index was 3.9 ± 2.0 in AG compared to 0.3 ± 0.4 in SLG (P <0.001). Mean periodic limb movement in series index was 10.1 ± 12.3 in AG and 3.6 ± 5.4 in SLG (P = 0.001). Conclusion: Comparison of altitude and sea level sleep studies in healthy children reveals significant differences in central apnea, apnea-hypopnea, desaturation, and periodic limb movement in series indices. Clinical providers should be aware of these differences when interpreting sleep studies and incorporate altitude-adjusted normative values in therapeutic-decision making algorithms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1707-1714
Number of pages8
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Altitude
  • Child
  • Normal subjects
  • Polysomnography
  • Respiratory
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Clinical Neurology


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