Assessment of Upper-Airway Configuration in Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome With Computed Tomography Imaging During Müller Maneuver

Jie-Feng Huang, Gong-Ping Chen, Bi-Ying Wang, Han-Sheng Xie, Jian-Ming Zhao, Li-Hua Wu, Li-Da Chen, Qi-Chang Lin
Respiratory Care 2016, 61 (12): 1651-1658

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this observational study was to investigate the relationship between upper-airway configuration assessed by CT imaging during the Müller maneuver state and the severity of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS).

METHODS: A total of 358 snoring subjects who underwent standard polysomnography and upper-airway configuration by using CT imaging were enrolled. According to the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), subjects were classified into 4 groups: snoring group (simple snoring), AHI < 5; mild OSAS, 5 ≤ AHI < 15; moderate OSAS, 15 ≤ AHI < 30; and severe OSAS, AHI ≥ 30. We also divided the upper airway into 3 parts, named the nasopharynx, oropharynx, and hypopharynx, from the CT scan and evaluated the minimal cross-sectional area (mCSA) and the shape of each airway level and calculated upper-airway length and distance from mandibular plane to hyoid bone (MPH).

RESULTS: Multivariate logistic stepwise regression analysis identified body mass index (BMI), mCSA of nasopharynx, upper-airway length, and MPH as risk factors for the severity of OSAS. When subdivided for BMI and sex, upper-airway length was a risk factor for OSAS in non-obese (BMI < 27 kg/m(2)) and male subjects, and MPH was a risk factor only in obese (BMI ≥ 27 kg/m(2)) subjects. Meanwhile, mCSA of nasopharynx was significantly associated with the severity of OSAS independent of BMI.

CONCLUSIONS: Subjects with severe OSAS have more significant abnormalities of the upper airway. Obesity, mCSA of nasopharynx, upper-airway length, and MPH may contribute to the severity of OSAS. Obesity and sex should be taken into account when evaluating the abnormalities of upper-airway anatomy in snorers and patients with OSAS.

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