Differential diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome patients and snorers using cephalograms

E Miyao, M Miyao, T Ohta, M Okawa, S Inafuku, M Nakayama, S Goto
Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 2000, 54 (6): 659-64
Severe snoring is thought by many to be an early stage of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), but the anatomical relation between snoring and OSAS, if any, has remained unclear. To compare the morphology of the airway between snorers and OSAS patients for possible similarities, we conducted a cephalometric analysis of Japanese OSAS patients (n=10), habitual snorers (n=10), and non-snoring controls (n=50). There was no significant difference in SNB (the angle formed by the sella, nasion and point B) between OSAS patients and the control subjects. Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome patients tended to have an anteriorly positioned maxilla, and an anteroposterior misalignment between the maxilla and mandible. There was also a tendency toward skeletal openbite. Both OSAS patients and snorers had large tongues and large soft palates, thus causing constriction of the airway with resultant smaller airway diameter and smaller airway surface area. Significant differences between OSAS patients and snorers were found in thickness and length of soft palate surface area, and thickness, length, and position of the hyoid bone. These results suggest that cephalographic measurements may be of considerable use in determining the seriousness of a patient's condition.

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