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Which oropharyngeal factors are significant risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea? An age-matched study and dentist perspectives

Authors Ruangsri S, Jorns TP, Puasiri S, Luecha T, Chaithap C, Sawanyawisuth K

Received 15 September 2015

Accepted for publication 17 March 2016

Published 8 July 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 215—219


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Steven A Shea

Supanigar Ruangsri,1,2 Teekayu Plangkoon Jorns,1,2 Subin Puasiri,3 Thitisan Luecha,4 Chariya Chaithap,4 Kittisak Sawanyawisuth5,6

1Department of Oral Biology, Faculty of Dentistry, 2Neuroscience Research and Development Group (NRDG), 3Department of Community Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, 4Faculty of Dentistry, 5Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, 6Research Center in Back, Neck, Other Joint Pain and Human Performance (BNOJPH), Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand

Objective: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleep breathing disorder. Untreated OSA may lead to a number of cardiovascular complications. Dentists may play an important role in OSA detection by conducting careful oral examinations. This study focused on the correlation of oral anatomical features in Thai patients who presented with OSA.
Methods: We conducted a prospective comparative study at a sleep/hypertension clinic and a dental clinic at Khon Kaen University in Thailand. Patients with OSA were enrolled in the study, along with age-matched patients with non-OSA (controls). Baseline characteristics, clinical data, and oropharyngeal data of all patients were compared between the two groups. Oropharyngeal measurements included tongue size, torus mandibularis, Mallampati classification, palatal space, and lateral pharyngeal wall area. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify the factors associated with OSA.
Results: During the study period, there were 156 patients who met the study criteria; 78 were patients with OSA and the other 78 were healthy control subjects. In the OSA group, there were 43 males with a mean age of 53 (standard deviation 12.29) years and a mean BMI of 30.86 kg/mm2. There were 37 males in the control group with a mean age of 50 (standard deviation 12.04) years and a mean BMI of 24.03 kg/mm2. According to multivariate logistic analysis, three factors were perfectly associated with OSA, including torus mandibularis class 6, narrow lateral pharyngeal wall, and Mallampati class 4. There were two other significant factors associated with having OSA, namely, BMI and Mallampati classification. The adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence interval) of these two factors were 1.445 (1.017, 2.052) and 5.040 (1.655, 15.358), respectively.
Conclusion: Dentists may play an important role in the detection of OSA in patients with high BMI through careful oropharyngeal examination in routine dental treatment. A large torus mandibularis, Mallampati class 4, and a narrow lateral pharyngeal wall are important anatomical risk factors for OSA.

Keywords: obstructive sleep apnea, neck circumference, torus mandibularis, tongue size, ­Mallampati classification, palatal vault, lateral pharyngeal wall, hypertension

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