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Angle Orthod. 1994;64(1):63-73.

Upright and supine cephalometric evaluation of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and snoring subjects.

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Department of Orthodontics, School of Dentistry, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106-4905.


Specific craniofacial characteristics are reported to occur with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). The purpose of this study was to determine whether craniofacial morphology differs between subjects with OSAS and heavy snorers, and to investigate how change in posture from upright to lying down affects the upper airway passage. Lateral head radiographs of ten persons diagnosed with OSAS(AHI > 50) and ten snorers matched for age, height and weight without any history of daytime sleepiness, doctor-diagnosed OSAS, and no evidence of significant desaturation on overnight oximetry were obtained in both upright seated and awake supine positions. The posterior superior pharyngeal space in both the OSAS and snorers was reduced when changing from upright to supine posture (p < or = 0.05). Significant differences in cranial base alignment, ramus width relative to the middle-cranial fossa, position of the maxilla relative to the cranial base in the seated position (P < or = 0.01) were noted between subjects with OSAS and subjects with snoring and less severe apnea. In addition, differences in the posterior superior pharyngeal space, tongue length, tongue to intermaxillary area ratio and hyoid position (p < or = 0.05) were demonstrated both in the upright and in the supine positions (p < or = 0.05) in the OSAS compared to the snoring group. These results suggest that anatomic factors may predispose some snorers to develop OSAS. Measurements made from awake supine position lateral head radiographs revealed no additional differences between OSAS and snoring subjects when compared to measurements made on radiographs taken in the upright position.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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