Available Techniques for Objective Assessment of Upper Airway Narrowing in Snoring and Sleep Apnea


A number of techniques are available to determine the level of obstructive predominance in snoring and in the obstructive sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome (OSAHS): lateral cephalography, awake endoscopy, awake endoscopy with the Müller maneuver, endoscopy during sleep, endoscopy with nasal continuous positive airway pressure during sleep, fluoroscopy, CT scanning, MR scanning, manometry, and acoustic reflections. Data from different studies using various methods suggest that different patients have different patterns of narrowing or collapse of the pharynx.

No reference standard exists for the determination of the predominant obstructive level during obstructive events, so further investigations are necessary to improve and validate existing methods and develop new techniques. These would improve our understanding of the pathophysiology of OSAHS and snoring and help to select the correct treatment option for different patients. This article lists criteria that must be used to assess the available techniques for diagnosis of obstruction level in snoring and OSAHS. The advantages and limitations of each diagnostic technique are summarized, with emphasis on the acoustic reflectometry technique.

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Faber, C.E., Grymer, L. Available Techniques for Objective Assessment of Upper Airway Narrowing in Snoring and Sleep Apnea. Sleep Breath 7, 77–86 (2003) doi:10.1007/s11325-003-0077-9

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  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • acoustic reflection
  • diagnosis
  • upper airway
  • endoscopy