Crozer-Keystone Opens Pediatric Sleep Center
If asked to describe the common sleep disorder patient, most people would think of an adult male who is overweight and snores. Thanks to education and research by sleep professionals, we have learned that sleep disorders affect people of all ages, shapes and sizes — including children.
Seeing the need in our region for qualified pediatric sleep services, the Crozer-Keystone Sleep Centers recently unveiled the Pediatric Sleep Center at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. Led by pediatric pulmonologist and medical director Vatsala Ramprasad, M.D., the pediatric sleep center serves the needs of children ages 6 months to 16 years with problems such as sleep apnea, sleep walking, insomnia, night terrors and more.
Ramprasad, who has nearly 30 years of experience as a pediatric pulmonologist, has also practiced pediatric sleep medicine for approximately 10 years. She is board certified in both pediatric pulmonology – the treatment of lung disorders in children and adolescents – and sleep medicine.
“Everyone has heard a lot about sleep apnea,” Ramprasad says. “In children between the ages of 2 and 5 years, obstructive sleep apnea is associated with large adenoids or ‘mouth breathing.’ Children with sleep apnea also present with poor growth and weight gain. We do not fully know why, but we think that it is partly because growth hormones are secreted during sleep. If a child has a sleep disorder it interrupts this process.”
Other common sleep problems that children can experience include sleepwalking, bed wetting and frequent awakenings during the night. Ramprasad says that there is a connection between insomnia and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and that people who battle insomnia early on in childhood can have this problem follow them throughout their lives. “Children who have trouble falling or staying asleep could be getting inadequate sleep, going to bed too late or exposed to extraneous stimuli — such as TV, the Internet and videogames — too close to bedtime,” Ramprasad says. “In addition, snacking and drinking caffeinated beverages too late in the day (such as energy drinks or iced tea), or exercising too close to bedtime, can contribute to the inability to fall or stay asleep.
For adolescents, the “circadian clock” changes at around age 13. They get sleepy later in the evening and wake up later in the morning. Because school starts so early for these children, they are constantly sleep deprived. Most can catch up on their sleep on the weekends and by making adjustments, but there is a small segment of this population that can only sleep at certain times of the day — making “catch-up sleep” difficult.
Fortunately, many pediatric sleep problems can be treated through behavior modification — such as adjusting the child’s diet or bed time, and keeping a sleep diary. Ramprasad says that not every child needs a sleep study, but those experiencing chronic problems could benefit from a visit to a sleep specialist.
“How we diagnose and treat a patient depends on what we find out from the child’s medical history,” Ramprasad says. “We do offer sleep studies if needed. For those children with pulmonary problems, we offer spirometry, lung function testing, broncoscopy, and exercise testing.
The only one of its kind in the Philadelphia suburbs, the Crozer-Keystone Pediatric Sleep Center at Crozer-Chester Medical Center offers the latest in technology, convenience and caring for its young patients. Now, there is no longer a need to travel out of Delaware County to receive qualified advanced pediatric sleep services.
Located on the second floor of the medical center and decorated in a beach theme, the center offers flexible check-in times to accommodate children’s bedtimes, a parent lounge with an oversized plasma TV, snacks and accommodations for parents. Parents of all pediatric sleep patients must be present during the entire test. Parents may bring favorite books or toys for smaller children; however, adolescents and teens are not encouraged to bring electronic devices.
Ramprasad believes that there still is a lot to be learned in the field of pediatric sleep medicine. “I am especially interested in the link between sleep apnea and asthma,” she says. “A lot of kids are sent to me for what seems to be sleep apnea, but I end up treating them for asthma. We know that there is a connection, and the relationship is complex, but that is one area that I am very interested in and will continue to investigate.”
To make an appointment with Ramprasad, call (610) 619-7410. To learn more about the Crozer-Keystone Sleep Centers, call 1-888-SLEEP-03 (1-888-753-3703) or visit sleepcenters.crozerkeystone.org.
In addition to the new sleep center, Crozer-Chester Medical Center offers a range of specialized pediatric services, including:
- A comfortable and modern 23-bed inpatient unit for patients who need to be admitted.
- Delaware County’s only Level IIIA Intensive Care Nursery, which is staffed by highly trained neonatologists and nurses.
- Affiliations with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
- Surgical services: Crozer surgeons perform many types of pediatric surgeries, from general procedures like appendectomies and hernia surgeries to comprehensive procedures such as burn scar revisions and plastic surgeries.
- Pediatricians in the Emergency Department: Board-certified pediatricians staff the Crozer ED from noon to midnight every day. Patients are guaranteed to be seen by one of our pediatricians within 30 minutes of arrival. The Crozer ED has a special pediatric waiting area with games and toys.
- Pediatric Hospitalists: Hospitalists are specially trained physicians who care for patients while they are hospitalized. Crozer’s pediatric hospitalists have years of experience treating children and adolescents, and are available at any time to discuss diagnosis and treatment, as well as any other concerns that may arise during hospitalization.
- Outpatient Pediatrics Services: In addition to general pediatrics practices conveniently located right on campus, Crozer offers such specialties as adolescent medicine, pediatric gynecology, allergy and immunology, neonatology and developmental pediatrics.
- A Pediatric Residency program where residents receive comprehensive training while assisting with care of hospitalized pediatric patients.