Dimensional and volumetric analysis of the oropharyngeal region in obstructive sleep apnea patients: A cone beam computed tomography study

Tripti Tikku, Rohit Khanna, Kiran Sachan, Akhil Agarwal, Kamna Srivastava, Anubha Lal


Objectives: Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a potentially life‑threatening condition in which there is a periodic cessation of breathing (for 10 sec or longer) that occurs during sleep in the presence of inspiratory effort. The aim of the study was to assess volumetric and dimensional differences between OSA patients and normal individuals in the upright posture.

Material and method: The present study was conducted on CBCT scans of 32 patients who were divided into two groups –Group I (control group) and Group II (OSA subjects). Group I consisted of 16 patients with normal airway with ESS score from 2 to 10, STOP BANG Questionnaire score of <3 and who had undergone CBCT for various diagnostic reasons. Group II had patients with ESS score >10, STOP BANG Questionnaire score of > 3, AHI index >5. Linear and angular parameters, volume and minimum cross‑section area (MCA) of oropharyngeal airway, anteroposterior length and lateral width at MCA was compared amongst the groups.

Results: The oropharyngeal volume, MCA, and the anteroposterior and lateral width of the airway at MCA of the OSA subjects was significantly lesser than that of normal subjects. The length of both soft palate and tongue was significantly more in Group II. The angle between the nasopharyngeal airway and the oropharyngeal airway was significantly more obtuse in Group II.

Conclusion: The reduction in oropharyngeal volume in OSA patients could be attributed to different anatomical and pathophysiological factors that were corroborated with the findings of the present study.

Key Words: Cone beam computed tomography, obstructive sleep apnea, oropharyngeal airway, tongue length

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