It’s common knowledge that esophageal pressure readings are the gold standard when determining more subtle levels of breathing obstruction, such as what’s found in upper airway resistance syndrome. Here’s an interesting study from the University of Michigan which showed that in children, esophageal pressure readings correlated with a disruptive behavior disorder (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4thEdition: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, or oppositional defiant disorder), and more sleepiness after adenotonsillectomy. However, it did not correlate with the pediatric apnea-hypopnea index, or the respiratory disturbance index. Neither esophageal pressure or the AHI predicted ADHD, cognitive performance, or improvement after surgery.
With such a high prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea in children with ADHD, the addition of esophageal pressure readings may be useful in children when there’s suspicion of an underlying sleep-breathing disorder.