Possibly the most challenging patients in the sleep disorders center are the very youngest. While we have come to realize that sleep disorders are not limited to the adult population, we have often applied the same technology to the testing of children and infants as though they were simply smaller adults. But they aren’t little adults. It is so important for our field as clinical caregivers to recognize that these patients are a very specialized population with unique challenges given their stage of physical development and cognitive ability.
Apnea detection in infants and pediatrics is of particular concern given the potential for developmental consequences and sudden respiratory failure. Yet many testing centers continue to utilize both a pressure cannula and thermistor despite the clear difficulty in placement on such a young patient. Children, and particularly babies hate having their noses touched (ask anyone who has ever tried to wipe a runny nose). Worse, their nares are extremely small and easily occluded by the very sensors being applied to measure airflow. Likewise, respiratory effort belts can be awkward to fit around tiny bodies and fail to record such rapidly occurring small changes in circumference with accuracy.
Dymedix Diagnostics Lullaby™ Pediatric Sensors family offers airflow and effort sensing with PVDF technology specifically designed with pediatric patients in mind. The airflow sensors are low profile, flat, and extremely small; yet replace both the pressure cannula and thermistor with one easy-to-apply device. This makes them much more comfortable for young ones to tolerate and provides a superior linear and fast response in one sensor. Likewise, the PVDF effort belts are reactive to pressure as well as strain, making them a comfortable and sensitive alternative to bulky RIP systems or non-AASM acceptable strain gauges. Pediatric patients are not little adults. These special patients should be tested with sensors best suited for their needs.