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How to interpret polysomnography
  1. Kai Wen Leong1,
  2. Amanda Griffiths2,
  3. Anne-Marie Adams2,
  4. John Massie3,4
  1. 1 Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2 Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
  3. 3 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
  4. 4 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kai Wen Leong, Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, Parkville VIC 3052, Australia; kaiwleong{at}


A 5-year-old child presents to a paediatric clinic with their parents because of concerns about snoring, which is loud, every night and associated with respiratory pauses. This has been present for 6 months. Can clinical evaluation diagnose sleep-disordered breathing in children or are further investigations required? Should further investigations include oximetry or polysomnography? If a polysomnogram is performed, how are the results interpreted? In this paper we describe the indications for polysomnography, outline the parameters measured and decode a clinical polysomnography report.

  • polysomnography
  • sleep disordered breathing
  • sleep study

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  • Contributors JM conceptualised the idea for this paper. The manuscript was drafted by KWL. Critical revision was done by JM, MG and A-MA. Annotation and development of images were performed by all authors.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Parental/guardian consent obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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