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Eur Respir J. 1996 Nov;9(11):2365-70.

Acoustic analysis of snoring sound in patients with simple snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea.

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Servei de Pneumologia, Hospital Universitario Germans Trias i Pujol, Badalona, Spain.


Snoring, a symptom which may indicate the presence of the obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSA), is also common in the general population. Recent studies have suggested that the acoustic characteristics of snoring sound may differ between simple snorers and OSA patients. We have studied a small number of patients with simple snoring and OSA, analysing the acoustic characteristics of the snoring sound. Seventeen male patients, 10 with OSA (apnoea/hypopnoea index (AHI) 26.2 events x h(-1)) and seven simple snorers (AHI 3.8 events x h(-1)), were studied. Full night polysomnography was performed and the snoring sound power spectrum was analysed. Spectral analysis of snoring sound showed the existence of two different patterns. The first pattern was characterized by the presence of a fundamental frequency and several harmonics. The second pattern was characterized by a low frequency peak with the sound energy scattered on a narrower band of frequencies, but without clearly identified harmonics. The seven simple snorers and two of the 10 patients with OSA (AIH 13 and 14 events x h(-1), respectively) showed the first pattern. The rest of the OSA patients showed the second pattern. The peak frequency of snoring was significantly lower in OSA patients, with all but one OSA patient and only one simple snorer showing a peak frequency below 150 Hz. A significant negative correlation was found between AHI and peak and mean frequencies of the snoring power spectrum (p<0.0016 and p<0.0089, respectively). In conclusion, this study demonstrates significant differences in the sound power spectrum of snoring sound between subjects with simple snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea patients.

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