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J Med Dent Sci. 2006 Jun;53(2):119-26.

Comparison of tongue volume/oral cavity volume ratio between obstructive sleep apnea syndrome patients and normal adults using magnetic resonance imaging.

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General Dentistry, Department of Comprehensive Oral Health Care, Division of Comprehensive Patient Care, Graduate School, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Japan.


Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) is a group of disorders in which breathing stops intermittently and repeatedly for 10 seconds or more during sleep. The causal site of the disorders is thought to be in the upper airway above the glottis. In order to understand the three-dimensional features of the oral and peripharyngeal structures involved in the disorders, we calculated the tongue volume/oral cavity volume ratio (TV/OCV ratio) in the oral cavity using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for both OSAS patients and normal controls. The study subjects comprised 20 male patients with OSAS (apnea-hypopnea index [AHI] > or = 5.0, with a diagnosis of OSAS) and 20 normal male adults (AHI<5.0, with no history of OSAS) as the controls. We performed MRI to acquire T1- and T2-weighted images. We estimated tongue volumes on the basis of the cross-sectional area of each image, then using the tongue volume data, we calculated TV/OCV ratios. In the normal control group, mean (+/- SD) body mass index (BMI) was 21.68 +/- 1.73 and the mean TV/OCV ratio was 86.98 +/- 3.16%, whereas these values were 25.0 +/- 15.94 and 90.56 +/- 2.15%, respectively, in the OSAS patient group. The TV/OCV ratio of the OSAS patient group was significantly higher than that of the normal control group (p<0.01).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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