Fast Five Quiz: Obstructive Sleep Apnea Key Aspects

Zab Mosenifar, MD


November 21, 2019

Most patients with OSA have upper airway obstruction at either the level of the soft palate (ie, nasopharynx) or the level of the tongue (ie, oropharynx). Both anatomic and neuromuscular factors have been shown to be important in the pathophysiology of OSA.

Enlarged tonsils and adenoids very rarely cause of OSA in adults, and their surgical removal is rarely an effective surgical remedy for OSA.

Patients with OSA have been shown to have a reduced diameter of the pharyngeal airway in wakefulness compared with patients without the disorder. Additionally, in the absence of craniofacial abnormalities, the soft palate, tongue, parapharyngeal fat pads, and lateral pharyngeal walls have been shown to be enlarged in patients with OSA versus those without it.

Neuromuscular activity in the upper airway, including reflex activity, decreases with sleep. This decrease may be more pronounced in patients with OSA.

For more on the background of OSA, read here.


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