BACKGROUND: During recent years, interest on Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB) in pediatric age has increased, due to the impact on quality of life, psycho-physical attitude and other serious morbidities if undiagnosed and untreated.
METHODS: Italian Pediatric Respiratory Diseases Society (SIMRI) SDB-Working Group carried out an exploratory survey in Italy, from January to December 2016, to assess the diagnostic and therapeutic pathways, perception and relevance of SDB in Italian Hospitals.
RESULTS: A questionnaire was sent to 180 Pediatric Units (PUs) distributed throughout the Italy; 102 Pediatric Units (PUs; 56.6%) answered and among them 57% dealt with SDB, and 94% recognized SDB as a major problem. Instrumental tests performed by the PUs were saturimetry (66%), nocturnal polygraphy with complete cardio-respiratory monitoring (46%) and full polysomnography (23%). In addition, hospital pediatricians reported that 54% of parents were unaware of the SDB and 84% did not know their complications. In the Northern Italy, the diagnosis was frequently performed with instrumental tools and the treatment was often surgical. In the Southern Italy the diagnosis was clinical, and the treatment was usually with drugs.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of our study showed a heterogeneity in the diagnosis and treatment of SDB throughout Italy. Parents know little about SDB and their complications. The operator satisfaction was associated with the availability of tools for diagnosing SDB.