Effect of long-term oral appliance therapy on obstruction pattern in patients with obstructive sleep apnea
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Oral appliance therapy is an alternative treatment modality for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). However, there have been no studies to determine whether changes in the obstructive pattern occur following long-term use of oral devices. Therefore, we examined whether the obstructive pattern changes in patients with OSA who undergo long-term oral appliance therapy using drug-induced sleep endoscopy (DISE).
We investigated 156 consecutive patients diagnosed with OSA. Seventy-nine of these patients were found to be eligible for inclusion in this study. All enrolled patients underwent two DISE examinations: before and after oral appliance use. We compared the DISE findings for each patient in terms of degree and configuration of airway obstruction at the levels of the velum, oropharynx, tongue base, and epiglottis.
We found that dental problems, as assessed using the average values of overjet and overbite, were significantly decreased after 2 years of oral appliance use. Comparisons of the DISE findings revealed that there was significant widening of the upper airway structures following long-term oral appliance therapy, especially in the velum (P = 0.022) and epiglottis (P = 0.001). However, changes in the configuration of upper airway obstruction were not observed in any of the structures of the upper airway.
We found evidence possibly indicating decreased obstruction at the levels of the velum and epiglottis after long-term use of oral appliances. We suggest further cohort studies to confirm these findings.
KeywordsObstructive sleep apnea Drug-induced sleep endoscopy Nasendoscopy Oral appliance
This research was supported by the Hallym University Research Fund (to Jo Seo Yun and Dong-Kyu Kim) and by the Hallym University Research Fund 2016 (HURF-2015-43, to Dong-Kyu Kim).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors have indicated no financial conflicts of interest.
The study protocol was approved by our Institutional Review Board, and all subjects provided written informed consent.
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