A tongue suspension suture for obstructive sleep apnea and snorers

B T Woodson
Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery 2001, 124 (3): 297-303

OBJECTIVE: A tongue suture is postulated to prevent tongue base collapse in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and snoring. This procedure uses a permanent tongue base suture to support the pharynx and lessen collapse. This study evaluates 2-month results in 28 OSA and snoring patients.

STUDY DESIGN AND SETTINGS: Forty-three patients have been enrolled in a multi-institutional prospective open enrollment study using the "Repose" bone screw system. Subjects were evaluated using polysomnography measures of general health (SF-36), snoring, and sleep (Epworth Sleepiness Scale and Functional Outcomes of Sleep) performed before and again 2 months after treatment.

RESULTS: In 14 OSA patients (Apnea + Hypopnea (AHI) > 15) and 14 snorers (AHI < 15), no change was noted in sleep architecture or lowest oxygen saturation. AHI decreased in OSA (35.4 +/- 13.7 to 24.5 +/- 14.5, P < 0.00), but not in snorers. AHI decreased in the lateral (16.5 +/- 16.5 to 3.8 +/- 6.4, P < 0.01) but not the supine position. Epworth Sleepiness Scale, Functional Outcomes of Sleep, and snoring scales improved. Snoring decreased but remained bothersome to the bed partner.

CONCLUSIONS: A tongue suspension suture partially reduces the respiratory severity of OSA. Small changes are noted in symptoms of sleepiness, snoring, and functional outcomes. Demonstration of efficacy of the technique and device will require further controlled trials.

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