HealthDay News — Combined palatal and tongue surgery reduces the number of apnea and hypopnea events in adults with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) for whom conventional therapy has failed, according to a preliminary study published online Sept. 4 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Stuart MacKay, M.D., from the University of Wollongong in Australia, and colleagues randomly assigned adults with symptomatic moderate or severe OSA for whom conventional treatment had failed to either multilevel surgery with modified uvulopalatopharyngoplasty and minimally invasive tongue volume reduction or ongoing medical management, including advice on sleep positioning and weight loss (51 and 51 patients).

The researchers found that at baseline and six months, the mean apnea-hypopnea index was 47.9 and 20.8, respectively, in the surgery group and 45.3 and 34.5, respectively, for the medical management group (mean baseline-adjusted between-group difference at six months, −17.6 events/hour). At baseline and six months, the mean Epworth Sleepiness Scale was 12.4 and 5.3, respectively, in the surgery group and 11.1 and 10.5, respectively, in the medical management group (mean baseline-adjusted between-group difference at six months, −6.7).

“This trial is the result of extensive prior research into the surgical treatment of sleep apnea and gives new hope to people who, without treatment, would each day continue to feel sleepy and depressed and may have their lives cut short by the detrimental effects of long-term interrupted sleep,” a coauthor said in a statement.


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Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical and publishing industries.

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