Regular Article| Volume 95, ISSUE 8, P639-648, August 2001

Flextube reflectometry for determination of sites of upper airway narrowing in sleeping obstructive sleep apnoea patients

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      The aim of this study was to examine a new technique based on sound reflections in a flexible tube for identifying obstructive sites of the upper airway during sleep. There was no significant difference between two nights in seven obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) patients regarding the level distribution of pharyngeal narrowings, when the pharynx was divided into two segments (retropalatal and retrolingual). We also compared the level distribution determined by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with the level distribution found by flextube reflectometry in seven OSA patients. There was no significant difference between flextube and MRI level distributions during obstructive events, but due to few subjects the power of the test was limited. We found a statistically significant correlation between the number of flextube narrowings per hour of sleep and the number of obstructive apnoeas and hypopnoeas per hour of sleep determined by polysomnography (PSG) in 21 subjects (Spearman's correlation coefficient r=0·79, P<0·001). In conclusion, the flextube reflectometry system seems to be useful for level diagnosis in OSA before and after treatment.




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