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Sleep Problems Plague Children More Than Most Realize — Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Expands Pediatric Sleep Program

New testing site lets Children's conduct pediatric sleep studies in comfortable, relaxing setting

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh has announced the expansion of its Sleep Program - including a new testing site - to address the dramatic increase in the diagnosis of pediatric sleep disorders.

The new testing site, located next to Children's North in Wexford, Pa., includes four sleep rooms for outpatient sleep testing. Each room has comfortable beds for both patients and parents, as well as a private bathroom. The rooms are painted and decorated in a child-friendly fashion to ease the stress and anxiety of spending a night in a laboratory setting.

Children's currently has a hospital-based sleep lab at its main campus in Oakland which has two rooms offering overnight sleep studies for children with more complex medical problems.

Sleep disorders in children include: sleep apnea, sleep walking and talking (parasomnias), bed wetting, insomnia, restless leg syndrome and narcolepsy. The diagnosis of pediatric sleep disorders, especially sleep apnea, has increased greatly in recent years. Today, more than 2 million children suffer from sleep disorders and up to 40 percent of children do not get enough sleep, according to the National Institutes of Health.

"The medical community is now starting to realize the extent to which children can suffer sleep disorders and that these are disorders that don't just affect adults," said Sangeeta Chakravorty, MD, director of Sleep Medicine at Children's. "Children who had sleep disorders can be misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or behavioral problems, and they can have great difficulty in school."

Parents should be aware of the following symptoms, which could indicate a sleep disorder:

* Snoring
* Breathing pauses during sleep
* Difficulty staying awake during the day
* Unexplained decrease in daytime performance

Children's Sleep Program offers overnight sleep studies, during which monitors record a patient's snoring, pulse, breathing patterns, sleep stages, oxygenation and exhaled carbon dioxide. These recordings are then evaluated the following day by a sleep medicine specialist. The specialists can then develop a comprehensive treatment program that incorporates lifestyle changes and medical therapy.

Dr. Chakravorty, also an assistant professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, recently joined Children's Sleep Program. She is a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and a diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine. She also is certified by the American Board of Sleep Medicine and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. For more information about Dr. Chakravorty or Children's Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, which includes the Sleep Program, please visit

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016,

Last Update
June 17, 2008
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Last Update
June 17, 2008