Dr. Vipin Garg, Medical Director of the Trinitas Comprehensive Sleep Disorders Center, examines eight year old Elias Melendez Jr. of Elizabeth.

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Doug Harris

Yolanda Fleming

Sleep Medicine Specialist says kids need it just as much as adults

As Sleep Awareness Week approaches with the switch to the beginning of Daylight Savings Time on March 11, greater daylight hours are a welcome sign of spring and summer. But, the "spring ahead" movement of the clocks frequently poses problems for many people, especially children whose internal clocks normally need a few days to catch up with the time change.

It's at this time, as well as the "fall back" time change in the fall when Daylight Saving Time ends, when many parents become more aware of sleep issues and how they affect a child's health and wellbeing.

"If a child has noisy breathing while they sleep, it could be a sign of a serious sleep disturbance such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome," explains Vipin Garg, MD, medical director of the Elizabeth and Cranford, New Jersey, locations of the Trinitas Comprehensive Sleep Disorders Center. "This breathing disturbance could result in decreased oxygen to the brain and possible learning impairment or behavioral issues."

Dr. Garg will discuss the importance of sleep as it directly affects performance in school at a program on March 15, 2012 at Echo Executive Plaza, 899 Mountain Ave., Suite A, Springfield, New Jersey. A light dinner will be served at 5:30pm, followed by the lecture. Advance registration is required. Please call 908-994–8939 to register.

Dr. Garg who is board certified in sleep medicine, pulmonary medicine, critical care medicine and internal medicine, reports a striking increase in the number of pediatric patients who seek diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders at the facilities run by Trinitas Regional Medical Center. "Between 2007 and 2011, we’ve experienced a 225% increase in the number of sleep studies that our certified polysomnographers have performed on children as young as 18 months old up to the age of 18. Many of these patients are directed to us from pediatricians and specialists in the region who treat ear, nose and throat issues in the pediatric population."

Often, parents may become increasingly concerned as they see their children gasping for air while sleeping. Such was the case of "Mr. R.C.," whose three-year-old had "noisy breathing" from infancy. He and his wife brought their son to the Comprehensive Sleep Disorders Center at Trinitas for evaluation. "During normal sleep, there should be no gasping for air. The sleep specialist told us our son stopped breathing 21 times an hour while he slept. He stopped breathing for as long as 30 seconds and because of this his oxygen level was low," said Mr. R. C. Following the sleep study, a sleep specialist examined the toddler and noticed enlarged tonsils and recommended that the parents consult an ear, nose and throat specialist.

A tonsillectomy was performed and the child again underwent a post-surgical sleep study. "We were again allowed to stay in the bedroom with our son while the sleep study was done. My wife and I were very happy to learn that the tonsillectomy had successfully corrected his breathing. He would have continued to be uncomfortable if we had not gone to the Sleep Center at Trinitas to begin with to find out what was wrong. He sleeps much better now and is much less cranky."

"At Trinitas Regional Medical Center Comprehensive Sleep Disorders Center, we've been highly successful in giving parents answers to these troubling sleep issues. We've seen many children get back to better sleep, thanks to our diagnostic tests and subsequent treatment," notes Dr. Garg.


Posted: March 2, 2012

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