Sleep disorders can cause substantial morbidity but often remain undiagnosed among adults. We identified a series of children with sleep-related symptoms and reviewed medical chart notes for the previous 2 years to determine how often sleep problems had been addressed.
Two university-affiliated but community-based general pediatrics clinics.
Children, ages 2.0 to 13.9 years, with clinic appointments.
Parental and child responses to a validated Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire (PSQ) were used to identify patients at risk for chronic sleep-disordered breathing, periodic leg movements during sleep, insomnia, or excessive daytime sleepiness. Chart notes written within the previous 2 years were searched for sleep-related symptoms, diagnoses, or treatments.
A total of 830 questionnaires were completed; 1395 chart notes of 86 symptomatic participants (mean age: 6.6 ± 3.1 years; 51% male) with 103 identified sleep problems were reviewed. Fewer than 15% of patients had current chart notes that mentioned any of the PSQ-defined sleep problems; diagnoses were mentioned for 2 of 86 patients and no treatments were discussed. Among the 103 sleep problems, only 16 received mention in any past or current note; 10 had led to a diagnosis; 4 had led to intervention; and 3 were treated in a manner likely to be effective. Seventy-four of the sleep problems (72%) occurred in children whose charts did mention something about sleep, but such notations rarely related to concerns uncovered by the PSQ.
Children with PSQ-identified sleep problems at 2 general pediatrics clinics seldom had these problems addressed, diagnosed, or treated, despite discussions about some aspect of their sleep in the large majority of cases. These findings support expansion of clinician and parent education about sleep disorders in children.