Surgery helps sleep apnoea28th April 2008
Researchers in Taiwan say that surgery to remove nasal obstructions improves quality of life for people with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).
The condition involves episodes of partial or complete blockage of the airway during sleep, resulting in snoring and daytime sleepiness.
In a study of 50 men and one woman suffering from OSA with an average age of 39, participants were assessed before and three months after they had nasal surgery.
Researchers found a significant reduction in symptoms of nasal obstruction and in snoring and daytime sleepiness after surgery.
They also reported a slight improvement in the patients' overall health.
Hsueh-Yu Li, a doctor at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taipei, wrote in the journal Archives of Otolaryngology, that patients experienced a 30.4% improvement in emotional and personal interactions after surgery. They also recorded a 20.7% increase in their ability to carry out physical tasks, and a 14.8% increase in mental health.
Participants also recorded a rise of 18.9% in their levels of vitality.
Overall, Li said, the generic health of the patients improved. The reduction in role limitations caused by physical or emotional problems was particularly noticeable, he added.
Researchers concluded that the findings substantiated the role of nasal surgery in treating nasal obstruction among OSA patients.
Sleep apnoea is a common disorder involving pauses in breathing which can last from a few seconds to minutes, often five to 30 times or more an hour. It is characterised by a loud snort or choking sound as normal breathing then starts again following pauses or shallow breaths.
It limits the amount of deep sleep during the night and causes excessive daytime sleepiness. As there are no blood tests for the condition, it often goes undiagnosed.
However, it has been identified as a risk factor for high blood pressure, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, obesity, and diabetes. It can also increase the chance of a work-related or driving accident.
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