Obstructive sleep apnea is a highly prevalent disorder in children manifested as an obstruction of the upper airway during sleep.
Objective: To analyze in the literature the etiology, diagnosis, risk factors and treatment of the systemic illness.
Methodology: Articles found at PubMed, SCOPUS and Google scholar were analyzed, with an emphasis on the last 5 years. Articles were evaluated with the PRISMA and AMSTAR guidelines. The search was carried out using the words “sleep apnea” related with “tonsillar hypertrophy”, “sleep”, “upper airway”, “obstruction”.
Results: Etiology: It’s a multifactorial disease, mainly caused by an obstacle in upper airway due to tonsillar hypertrophy. Diagnosis: Performed with clinical or instrumental examinations, overnight polysomnography is the gold standard for the diagnosis of this disorder. Risk factors: Tonsillar hypertrophy, iron deficiency, disturbances in craniofacial growth and childhood obesity. Treatment: It can be performed surgically or non-surgically and can be supported by orthodontic treatments.
Conclusion: Obstructive sleep apnea is a common respiratory disorder in children, usually caused by tonsillar hypertrophy, it can be diagnosed by clinical or instrumental examinations. It is related to risk factors such as childhood obesity, and the treatment can be surgical or non-surgical.