Stanford Medicine Newsletter Updates For the Local Community


When your child has sleep problems

On June 1, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital opened an expanded Pediatric Sleep Center on the campus of El Camino Hospital in Mountain View. The new center, which has grown from four to eight beds, will provide children and adolescents with state-of-the-art evaluation for their sleep problems in a kid-friendly environment.

Sleep testing is a useful diagnostic tool for getting to the bottom of problems such as snoring, interrupted sleep breathing, nightmares, bed-wetting and daytime sleepiness. The center also evaluates young patients with behavior problems that may be worsened by poor sleep, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The center offers a complete range of sleep evaluations, from simple diagnostics to complex sleep studies. In addition to a full complement of sleep lab equipment, each room has space for one parent to stay the night with the child.

“Having a parent present makes children feel safer, and they can sleep better,” said Nanci Yuan, MD, the center’s medical director. “It’s an open system. The family can see what’s going on and be there to help their child.”

The center is equipped with amenities for both parents and children, with Internet access in each patient room and plenty of kid-friendly features—especially important for helping small children prepare for sleep in an unfamiliar setting.

“Most sleep labs won’t see kids younger than 5,” said Michael Henry, chief of respiratory services at Packard Children’s, noting that his staff of registered respiratory therapists and polysomnographers are trained to handle patients as young as a few months of age. The technicians have a stockpile of age-appropriate games and videos to entertain and distract children while they are being connected to monitoring equipment.

“When we do a sleep study, we measure many aspects of the patient’s sleep quality, such as the architecture and duration of sleep,” Yuan said. The studies measure the length and type of sleep phases, episodes of arousal, heart rhythms, and respiratory problems such as snoring and abnormal gaps in breathing.

Yuan, who is board-certified in sleep medicine, pediatric pulmonary medicine and general pediatrics, can also provide detailed follow-up for patients whose sleep studies show that they need further treatment.

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