Black Children Are 83% Less Likely to Visit an ORL

written by / April 1, 2022
Black Children Are 83% Less Likely to Visit an ORL

A recent study shows that children from socioeconomically vulnerable families have a higher chance of not attending a specialist treatment for one of the most common sleep conditions (sleep-disordered breathing (SDB)) after their primary care physician’s referral.

In the study conducted with data from the Medical University of South Carolina, scientists evaluated which socioeconomic factors condition the pursuit of medical care of a higher level. 

Around 400 children between the ages of 2 and 17 were included, and their ORL appointment attendance was surveyed and compared. 

The research team also estimated the participants’ social vulnerability index (SVI), which includes parameters like ethnicity, family composition, disability, and economic status. 

And while some disparities were expected, the results were still shocking! 

It was found that Black children were 83% less likely to visit an ORL for SDB than White children. Similarly, Hispanic children had 73% lower odds of visiting the ORL than Caucasian Kids. 

Results also indicated that children with lower SVI honored their otolaryngology appointments more than those deemed more socioeconomically vulnerable. 

However, what influenced attendance the most was the socioeconomic status of children’s families. Other factors, including difficulties relating to language and transportation, were less influential. 

Disparities like these ought to be taken seriously, given that SDB is not a light diagnosis. It incorporates obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), periodic limb movement disorder, restless leg syndrome, etc. (in short, all breathing problems that occur during sleep and interfere with it). 

For example, it’s estimated that 1–5% percent of US children suffer from OSA. This means that 2,000–3,000 kids are affected by this condition. 

The worst part is that sleep-disordered breathing can cause a number of problems for children, including:

  • Difficulty concentrating during the day
  • Poor grades in school
  • Behavioral problems
  • Difficulty falling and staying asleep
  • Snoring
  • Memory issues

The potential consequences of SDB depend on early treatment. Severe stages may require surgical intervention, a weight-loss program, or the use of a quality CPAP machine to restore normal breathing. 

Marija Kovachevska is a content writer at, Biochemist and Activist. After obtaining her BSc in Biochemistry and Physiology she changed her microscope for content research tools and continued researching in the fields of Medicine, Biology, and Communication. Her insatiable curiosity flare drove her to become a “content scientist writer” as she likes to say. Reality fascinates her and facts and statistics are a must-have feature in her articles. Fluent in English and French, she is a volunteer and communication associate for several non-profit organizations. French culture and handcrafting are her passion, but in her free time, she indulges in long walks and traveling, or as she likes to say “experiencing the inexperienced.”