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Research Team -

Paediatric Respiratory and Sleep Medicine

Principal Investigators

Research Staff

  • Dr. YUEN Hoi Man, Cindy    

  • Ms. CHAN Samantha  

  • Ms. CHIN Yen 

  • Ms. CHOI Joyce 

  • Ms. LEUNG Westa 

  • Ms. NGAI Hoi Yan   

Post-graduate students

  • Mr. HE Zhiang (MPhil)

  • Ms. GUO Wei (PhD)

  • Ms. YANG Ming (PhD)

Research Scope

An overview of research focus

Our research team is most interested in paediatric sleep problems and respiratory diseases, with particularly focuses on sleep-disordered breathing, sleep deprivation, and asthma.

A list of research topics

  • Natural history of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) from childhood to adulthood

  • Epidemiology of OSA in children and adolescents

  • Cardiovascular complications of OSA in children

  • Neurocognitive and behavioural outcomes in children with OSA

  • Non-invasive ventilation for childhood OSA

  • Treatment effect of adenotonsillectomy

  • Prediction of treatment responses

  • Anatomical markers of childhood OSA

  • Craniofacial phenotyping by photogrammetry

  • Drug-induced sleep endoscopy for children with OSA

  • Sleep deprivation and cardiovascular outcomes in youth

  • Sleep problems in young children

  • Sleep education

  • Management of asthma in children

  • Asthma and systemic inflammation

  • Tobacco smoke exposure in children

Selected publications

  1. Wong OY, Au CT, Yuen HM, Yu KN, Lan QY, Chan NY, Tsang CC, Li AM, Chan KC. Impact of COVID-19 on the sleep-wake patterns of a prospective cohort of preschool children. Sleep Medicine. 2023 Jan; 101: 50–57.

  2. Yuen HM, Chan KC, Chu WCW, Chan JWY, Wing YK, Li AM, Au CT. Craniofacial Phenotyping By Photogrammetry In Chinese Prepubertal Children With Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. Sleep. 2022 Dec 3;zsac289.

  3. Cheng ETW, Chan RNC, Chan KC, Au CT, Li AM. Level of urinary catecholamines in children with sleep disordered breathing: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine. 2022 Dec;100:565-572.

  4. Ai S, Li Z, Wang S, Chen S, Chan JWY, Au CT, Bao Y, Li AM, Zhang J, Chan KC, Wing YK. Blood pressure and childhood obstructive sleep apnea: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews. 2022 Oct;65:101663.

  5. Yuen HM, Au CT, Chu WCW, Li AM, Chan KC. Reduced tongue mobility: an unrecognized risk factor of childhood obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep. Jan 11 2022;45(1)doi:10.1093/sleep/zsab217.

  6. Au CT, Chan KC, Chook P, Wing YK, Li AM. Cardiovascular risks of children with primary snoring: A 5-year follow-up study. Respirology. Aug 2021;26(8):796-803.

  7. Au CT, Chan KCC, Lee DLY, Leung N, Chow SMW, Chow JS, Wing YK, Li AM. Effect of surgical intervention for mild childhood obstructive sleep apnoea on attention and behavioural outcomes: A randomized controlled study. Respirology. Jul 2021;26(7):690-699.

  8. Au CT, Chan KC, Zhang J, Liu KH, Chu WCW, Wing YK, Li AM. Intermediate phenotypes of childhood obstructive sleep apnea. J Sleep Res. Jun 2021;30(3):e13191.

  9. Chan KC, Au CT, Hui LL, Wing YK, Li AM. Childhood OSA is an independent determinant of blood pressure in adulthood: longitudinal follow-up study. Thorax. May 2020;75(5):422-431.

  10. Chan KC, Au CT, Hui LL, Ng SK, Wing YK, Li AM. How obstructive sleep apnea evolves from childhood to young adulthood – natural history from a 10-year follow-up study. Chest 2019;156(1):120-30.


1. Study title: An 18-year Follow-up Study on Obstructive Sleep Apnoea in a Population-based Cohort

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Health Medical Research Fund

Study period: 4 Feb 2022 to 3 Feb 2025

Reference number: 8190526

2. Study title: Mucosal inflammation in children with OSA - potential biomarkers of OSA complications

Funding source: Health and Medical Research Fund - Commissioned Paediatric Research at Hong Kong Children's Hospital

Study period: 1 Jan 2023 to 31 Dec 2025

Reference number: PR-CUHK-4

3. Study title: Validation of the sonographic measurement of lateral parapharyngeal wall thickness in children

Funding source: CUHK Direct Grant

Study period: 28 Jun 2021 to 27 Jun 2022

Reference number: 2020.073

4. Study title: Randomised controlled study to examine the efficacy of sleep education on extending sleep duration of preschool children.

Funding source: RGC General Research Fund

Study period: 1 Jan 2021 to 30 Jun 2023

Reference number: 14116920

5. Study title: Long-term follow-up of children with obstructive sleep apnoea treated with adenotonsillectomy: cardiovascular perspective

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Health Medical Research Fund

Study period: 17 Jul 2020 to 16 Jul 2024

Reference number: 07181276

6. Study title: Prevalence of obstructive sleep apnoea among adolescents in the general population

Funding source: RGC General Research Fund

Study period: 1 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2023

Reference number: 14116919

7. Study title: High-flow nasal cannula as an alternative intervention for children and adolescents with obstructive sleep apnoea

Funding source: Food and Health Bureau - Health Medical Research Fund

Study period: 7 Oct 2019 to 30 Sep 2023

Reference number: 06170456

8. Study title: Sleep pattern and habits of Hong Kong preschoolers

Funding source: CUHK Direct Grant

Study period: 29 Jun 2020 to 28 Jun 2021

Reference number: 2019.071

9. Study title: Validation of a Point-of-Care Prediction Model for Childhood Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Funding source: RGC General Research Fund

Study period: 1 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2020

Reference number: 14123618

10. Study title: Associations between changes in sleep duration and blood pressure across school holidays in sleep-deprived teenagers

Funding source: RGC General Research Fund

Study period: 1 Jan 2018 to 30 Jun 2021

Reference number: 14169817

Collaborative works

We work closely with our ENT colleagues, Drs. Dennis Lee and Natalie Leung, to investigate treatment effects of adenotonsillectomy on childhood OSA.

We collaborate with Dr. Savio Wong from the Department of Educational Psychology, CUHK to investigate the effects of sleep disorders, sleep architecture and sleep deprivation on neurocognitive function in children.

Research collaboration has also been established with Dr. Ronald LM Lui from the Department of Mathematics, CUHK to explore ways to quantify various physiological traits of sleep-related breathing and to see if these traits are better predictors of sleep apnoea severity and clinical outcomes.

Research linkage has also been established with Prof. Danny Eckert from the Flinders University in Australia to develop a physiological-based model to predict the treatment responses to surgical treatment in children with obstructive sleep apnoea.

Facilities available

Our sleep laboratory located in the Prince of Wales Hospital was established in 2002. It is a 2-bedded unit and it serves both clinical services and research purposes. Over the past 10 years, we have performed over 1,500 sleep studies on children.

News of the team

Recent research findings

  • Dr. Kate Chan has just completed a secondary analysis of the 10-year follow-up study of the Hong Kong Childhood OSA cohort and found that REM-related OSA was a stable phenotype through childhood to young adulthood, and it was associated with abnormal blood pressure. (Recently published online in Nature and Science of Sleep)

  • Ms. Cindy Yuen (PhD candidate) has discovered that reduced tongue mobility is a novel marker that associated with the occurrence and severity of OSA in prepubertal children. (Recently published online in Sleep)

  • Prof. Jun Au and Dr. Kate Chan conducted a prospective matched cohort study which demonstrated that childhood primary snoring is independently associated with poorer endothelial function, greater intima-media thickness and higher ambulatory blood pressure at 5-year follow-up. (Recently published online in Respirology)

  • Prof. Jun Au and Dr. Kate Chan completed a randomized trial confirming that improvements in OSA severity index and parent-reported symptoms after adenotonsillectomy in pre-pubertal school-aged children with mild obstructive sleep apnoea. However, no improvements in objective attention measures were found, and weight gain and elevated blood pressure were observed after surgery. (Recently published online in Respirology)

  • Cephalometric analysis using local deformation information can provide additional details on each cephalogram, hence, achieving better classification of OSA severity in children. (Presented by Ms. Cindy Yuen in 34thAnnual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies on Aug 27-30 2020)

  • Exposure to household environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is prevalent among Hong Kong young children, particularly in children with maternal smoking and lower socioeconomic status. More importantly, their exposure ETS was associated with respiratory symptoms and all-cause outpatient or inpatient medical service utilization. (Results published in PLoS One and Tobacco Induced Diseases)

Prof. Albert Li presented as a keynote speaker in recent international and Asian sleep conferences

Awards of team members

  • Year 2 medical students, Ms. Kelly Cheung (Supervisor: Prof. Jun Au) and Ms. Emily Wong (Supervisor: Dr. Kate Chan) won the second prize for the best oral and poster presentations respectively in the Hong Kong Paediatric Society and Hong Kong College of Paediatricians Joint Annual Scientific Meeting 2021.

  • Ms. Cindy Yuen obtained the Youth Travel Award for the abstract titled “Craniofacial Phenotyping By Photogrammetry In Hong Kong Chinese Prepubertal Children With Obstructive Sleep Apnea”. Her study found that maxillary-mandibular relationship angle captured by photogrammetry was a feature that was found in both Asian and Caucasian OSA children. (3rd Congress of Asian Society of Sleep Medicine (ASSM), Beijing, May 14–17, 2021)

Opportunities to research students

  • Overnight sleep study (polysomnography) training

Students with interests in performing/analysing overnight sleep study will be provided on-site training to prepare them to sit for the international recognized examination offered by the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists.

  • International exposure

Giving presentations in international conferences.

Potential collaborations with international experts.

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