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Eur Spine J. 2014 Mar;23(3):641-7. doi: 10.1007/s00586-013-3046-4. Epub 2013 Oct 9.

Sleep apnea and cervical spine pathology.

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  • 1University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Sleep apnea is a multi-factorial disease with a variety of identified causes. With its close proximity to the upper airway, the cervical spine and its associated pathologies can produce sleep apnea symptoms in select populations. The aim of this article was to summarize the literature discussing how cervical spine pathologies may cause sleep apnea.

METHODS:

A search of the PubMed database for English-language literature concerning the cervical spine and its relationship with sleep apnea was conducted. Seventeen published papers were selected and reviewed.

RESULTS:

Single-lesion pathologies of the cervical spine causing sleep apnea include osteochondromas, osteophytes, and other rare pathologies. Multifocal lesions include rheumatoid arthritis of the cervical spine and endogenous cervical fusions. Furthermore, occipital-cervical misalignment pre- and post-cervical fusion surgery may predispose patients to sleep apnea.

CONCLUSIONS:

Pathologies of the cervical spine present significant additional etiologies for producing obstructive sleep apnea in select patient populations. Knowledge of these entities and their pathophysiologic mechanisms is informative for the clinician in diagnosing and managing sleep apnea in certain populations.

PMID:
24121751
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3940806
Free PMC Article
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