Apert Sydrome: Treatment

Treating Sleep Apnea:
There are various degrees of sleep apnea, and a small amount of sleep apnea can be considered normal. The amount of sleep apnea that is normal varies with age. There are also two kinds of sleep apnea, central and obstructive. Central apnea basically occurs when the brain "forgets" to breathe. It may be caused by cerebellar tonsillar herniation (sometimes called a "Chiari Malformation"), or it just may occur on it's own. Obstructive apnea occurs with a narrowed or blocked airway, and is the most common cause in Apert syndrome. If a child is found to have significant sleep apnea, there are different treatments that may be prescribed.

The first treatment for sleep apnea is medication. There are a number of medicines that can open up a partially blocked airway in order to make breathing easier. There is also a medicine that can help central apneas (as long as it isn't caused by cerebellar tonsillar herniation). The next step, if medications are not completely successful, is to remove the tonsils. If the tonsils are to be removed, it may be a good idea to leave the adenoids to help with speech. Frequently, if the sleep apnea is not too severe, a tonsillectomy will be all that is needed. The last option, short of major surgery, is a CPAP or BiPAP mask. This is a facemask that is worn at night, which delivers a rush of air, each time the child breaths in. It usually works very well when worn, however, most parents find it difficult to keep on a child all night. Typically, children, end up pulling the mask off, sometime in the middle of the night, making this treatment not very effective. If none of the above treatments work, then surgery is recommended to bring the mid face forward.