Obstructive sleep apnoea
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a chronic and progressive condition where the upper airway has repetitive episodes of partial (airflow restrictions) or complete (airflow cessation or ‘apnoea’) obstruction during sleep. This can have a vast array of subsequent serious medical consequences when left untreated. Untreated moderate to severe OSA has well documented increased risk of premature death, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and other medical conditions.
In conjunction with these health risks, the symptoms of untreated OSA can be extremely debilitating for the patient. Fatigue, sleepiness and unrefreshed sleep can make everyday tasks difficult. Work, family life and overall wellbeing can suffer.
Snoring is a vibratory sound produced during sleep by collapse of the soft tissues at the palate, pharynx (upper food pipe) and tongue base. Whilst not directly “dangerous” to health, snoring is closely linked to undiagnosed OSA, and can be intolerable for sleep partners – causing night time separation of couples, with subsequent relationship stress and flow-on mental health implications.
Treatment for Snoring/OSA
In adults, the treatment of OSA/snoring is a complex undertaking. No two patients are the same and an individualised approach is required. Obstruction occurs often at multiple levels of the airway, with varying contributions. There may also be external contributing factors such as weight, medication, alcohol and concurrent functional sleep disorders.
Our surgeons are highly trained in the detailed clinical assessment and management of OSA/snoring. Our comprehensive assessment will guide your best treatment options – and we will discuss the pros and cons with you.
CPAP and alleviating nasal symptoms affecting sleep
In general, the gold-standard treatment for OSA is wearing a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask at night. When worn all night, every night CPAP will overcome OSA. However, not everyone can tolerate wearing a mask and some people want to explore other options. Our assessment will uncover if fitting a jaw splint (mandibular advancement splint) or lateral sleeping device may be of benefit. Medical or surgical management of nasal obstruction may be needed to facilitate CPAP or device use and alleviate nasal symptoms affecting sleep. Some people also benefit from a simple device that stops patients from rolling onto their back.
The surgical management of OSA/snoring involves comprehensive analysis of sleep architecture (via sleep study) and detailed review of patient anatomy through static and dynamic manoeuvres. Surgery usually involves treatment of multiple levels of the airway, either in a simultaneous or staged manner. Our specialists have a special interest in Sleep Surgery, and will guide you through the process of exploring your management options.