New scientific research indicates that an individual's anatomy might be critical in an apnea diagnosis. Researchers at the prestigious Seoul National University College of Medicine in South Korea have concluded that people with obstructive sleep apnea have soft palates that are more elongated and angled than those of people without the condition. The finding was made using sleep videofluoroscopy (a combination of X-ray images and video recording).
"Sleep videofluoroscopy quantitatively showed that the soft palate was considerably elongated and angulated in patients with obstructive sleep apnea even in an awake state," wrote Dr. Chul Hee Lee and colleagues in a news release. "It is an easy way to measure the soft palate changes and may be a useful technique to differentiate obstructive sleep apnea from simple snoring with short examination time."
The finding will also inform whether a particular patient might respond favorably to a surgical approach to obstructive sleep apnea. A full copy of the study is published in the February issue of the journal Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.