An overnight sleep test may be theanswer in helping physicians differentiatesnoring from obstructive sleep apnea(OSA). For the study, the researchers examined101 patients who came to an ear,nose, and throat clinic complaining ofsnoring. The physicians attempted todetermine if the patients had OSA basedon their medical history, an evaluation ofthe anatomy of their nose and throat, anda test looking for obstruction in the throat.
The patients also had to participate in a2-night sleep test that measured snoring,body position, lung oxygen saturation, andairflow, as well as electroencephalographbrain activity. A polysomnograph recordedall the measurements. While this test isexpensive, but accurate, experts said it isthe "gold standard"in diagnosing sleepapnea. Lead researcher Alfred Dreher, MD,noted that polysomnography is necessarybecause "none of the reported medical historyand/or anatomical parameters alone,or in combination, could be used to distinguishpatients with obstructive sleep apneasyndrome from snoring patients."
The researchers concluded that patientswanting treatment for snoring "should bescreened overnight using a device measuringat least oxygen saturation and airflow."(The findings were reported in theArchives of Otolaryngology—Head & NeckSurgery, February 2005.)