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Sleep Med. 2004 Nov;5(6):605-7.

Obstructive lingual thyroid causing sleep apnea: a case report and review of the literature.

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  • 1Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Desk East 18, Mayo Clinic, 200 1st St SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


Lingual thyroid has been reported to cause obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) only once in the literature. We present a case of a 49-year-old nonobese female with a 2-year history of progressive snoring, apneas, snort arousals, and daytime somnolence associated with the sensation of an 'enlarging tongue'. She was found to have severe OSA caused by a large lingual thyroid. While positive airway pressure therapy was not successful, surgical resection of the thyroid was curative. OSA caused by lingual thyroid and other oropharyngeal/parapharyngeal tumors are discussed. A careful oropharyngeal examination is important in evaluating patients with complaints of OSA.

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