Sleep is critical for growing children to prevent obesity, poor mental health, injuries, and attention or behavior problems, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and as many as 50 percent of children experience sleep-related disorders at some point during their childhood. Pediatric sleep disorders range from insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, enlarged tonsils, and restless leg syndrome to sleepwalking, bedwetting, bruxism, and night terrors.
“Every sleep disorder that affects adults may also affect children,” says Zi Yang Jiang, MD, associate professor and chief of pediatric otolaryngology in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. “To improve the health of our pediatric patients, we integrate otolaryngic care, pulmonary medicine, and weight management using a team approach.”
Dr. Jiang sees pediatric patients in clinic twice a week and holds his multidisciplinary clinic on the first Wednesday of the month with a nurse practitioner from the medical school’s Division of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine. Children and adolescents who would benefit from a weight management program have quick access to care.
“In the past, children and adolescents with obstructive sleep apnea have had to wait months to be evaluated for eligibility for CPAP,” he says. “We’ve changed that with our clinic, and certain patients may even try the mask without the machine to help them acclimate.”
Dr. Jiang treats patients from infancy to age 18. For appropriate patients, treatments may include tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, sleep endoscopy, and base-of-tongue reductions. The sleep program includes pediatric specialists Sancak Yuksel, MD, associate professor of otorhinolaryngology; Zhen Jane Huang, MD, assistant professor of otorhinolaryngology; Cindy Jon, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics-pulmonary; Mona A. Eissa, MD, professor of pediatrics-adolescent medicine; and Katie Ahlstrom, NP, nurse practitioner of pediatrics-pulmonary.
To make an appointment for the Pediatric Sleep Program clinic, call 713-486-5000 or visit www.ent4.me/pedi-ent.