Respiratory patterns during sleep in Down's syndrome: Importance of central apnoeas

Raffaele Ferri, Lilia Curzi-Dascalova, Stefano Del Gracco, Maurizio Elia, Sebastiano A. Musumeci, Maria C. Stefanini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Obstructive sleep apnoea episodes have been reported repeatedly in Down's syndrome (DS) patients as a consequence of the presence of predisposing malformations or intercurrent pathology of the upper airways. There are no data on respiratory patterns of uncomplicated Down's syndrome subjects. In order to evaluate the eventual effects of central nervous system (CNS) impairment on respiration in DS, we studied the respiratory patterns during sleep of a group of 10 DS subjects, aged 8.6-32.2 y, without relevant upper airway pathology. In order to control the possible effects of sleep structure and mental retardation on the results obtained, we compared the findings in DS with those obtained from a group formed by subjects affected by fragile X syndrome (six males and one female, aged 10.0-15.42 y), another genetically determined type of mental retardation. Sleep structure was similar in both groups; however, DS subjects showed significantly higher indices of central sleep apnoea and of oxygen desaturation than fragile X patients (P

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-141
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Brainstem
  • Central sleep apnoea
  • Down's syndrome
  • Obstructive sleep apnoea
  • Respiratory pattern
  • Sighs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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