Vincent Cumberworth BSc FRCS Consultant Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon
Clementine Churchill Hospital Sudbury Hill Harrow Middlesex HA1 3RX
Private Secretary: Tel: 020 8872 3866 Fax: 0208872 3861

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Snoring & Sleep Apnoea

It is often necessary to ascertain whether someone simply snores or may also have sleep apnoea.  In snoring there is no significant reduction in the oxygen saturation of the body but in sleep apnoea this parameter is reduced during obstructive episodes.  After ear, nose and throat review and assessment it may be necessary to perform a sleep study to diagnose sleep apnoea.  In the case of sleep apnoea, treatment may be required subsequently by a respiratory physician and this can entail use of a face mask for CPAP, (Continuous Positive Airways Pressure).

ENT examination is important to assess the upper airways and particularly the nasal passages; optimisation of these can have a significant impact on sleep-related breathing conditions.

Two particular aggravating factors for snoring are being overweight and drinking alcohol, particularly at night.  Nasal obstruction can also be a factor and smoking may exacerbate the problem.

Children may have problems with obstructive sleep apnoea if they have large tonsils and adenoids and this can necessitate surgery, in the form of adeno-tonsillectomy.

A further procedure which can be valuable in assessment of patients is a sleep nasendoscopy and this would be performed by an ENT Surgeon under a specialised brief general anaesthetic.  This can permit a more accurate assessment of the areas of collapse associated with snoring.  An alternative treatment which can be beneficial, for which the sleep nasendoscopy can also give predictive information, is the use of a mandibular advancement splint.