Neurocognitive Impairment in Children with Congenital Heart Disease and Sleep Disordered Breathing
2016 ABSM Junior Faculty Award
Daniel Combs, MD
University of Arizona
Key Project Outcomes
Congenital heart disease is common, affecting one in a 100 children. Children with congenital heart disease are known to have problems with thinking (cognitive impairment) that can cause problems with school performance as well as decrease their quality of life. There are limited therapies available for this cognitive impairment. We found that children with congenital heart disease are at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea. We found that more than half of the children in our study had mild-moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Additionally, we found that the presence of obstructive sleep apnea was associated with a significantly lower IQ as well as worse performance on a computerized neurocognitive assessment. Future research is needed to evaluate the effects of obstructive sleep apnea treatment on cognition in children with congenital heart disease.