J Pediatr Biochem 2016; 06(04): 191-198
DOI: 10.1055/s-0037-1601559
Review Article
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Sleep in Children with Neuromuscular Diseases

Alessandro Onofri1, Elisabetta Verrillo2, Renato Cutrera2
  • 1Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Psycology, Sapienza University of Rome, Unit of Pneumology, Sant'Andrea Hospital, Rome, Italy
  • 2Respiratory Unit, University Department of Pediatrics (DPUO), Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital, Rome, Italy
Further Information

Publication History

19 February 2017

04 March 2017

Publication Date:
04 April 2017 (eFirst)


Neuromuscular diseases are a heterogeneous group of diseases affecting the nerves, muscles, anterior horn cells, or the neuromuscular junctions. They cause muscular weakness and, in most cases, involve the respiratory system, with a variable course that can lead to respiratory failure. Sleep disorders are often present in these patients, and their evaluation is necessary to assess the requirements for correct management. Hypoventilation, obstructive sleep apnea, and central apneas must be assessed and eventually treated with mechanical ventilatory support. Polysomnography with capnography is the gold standard in assessing sleep-disordered breathing. This review aims to provide an overview of the literature on the most common neuromuscular diseases with related sleep breathing disorders in children, highlighting the main features of sleep in these patients and the role of noninvasive ventilation in treating these conditions.