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Videofluoroscopy Useful in Observing Apneic Changes

In patients with obstructive sleep apnea, soft palate was elongated and angulated during sleep

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with obstructive sleep apnea demonstrated soft palate changes during normoxygenated and desaturated periods while sleeping, as viewed with sleep videofluoroscopy (SVF), according to research published in the February issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

Chul Hee Lee, M.D., Ph.D., of the Seoul National University College of Medicine in Seongnam, South Korea, and colleagues analyzed data from 53 adults with obstructive sleep apnea and 10 who simply snored; all underwent overnight polysomnography, as well as SVF before and during induced sleep with midazolam.

While awake, patients with apnea showed increased length and angle of the soft palate during inspiratory efforts, but simple snorers did not, the investigators found. In patients with apnea, the increase of soft palate length and angle was greatest during desaturation sleep events and least when awake, the researchers report. Soft palate changes were most substantial in patients with severe apnea or a soft palate-type obstruction.

"Sleep videofluoroscopy showed dynamic changes in the upper airway during either awake or asleep events. It can be performed for a short period of time and can provide useful information on the obstructive events of the upper airway," the authors write. "Sleep videofluoroscopy is a complementary diagnostic tool that can be easily performed, especially for surgeons who need to know where and how the obstruction occurs."

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