Obstructive sleep apnea due to nasal obstruction: a review of the literature

Ksenija Kuzborskaja-Riaukė1

1Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Kaunas, Lietuva


Background. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder associated with episodic collapses of the upper airway during sleep. Risk factors include conditions leading to reduced pharyngeal radius and increased airway laxity. OSA can have a negative impact on a person’s quality of life, so timely diagnosis is essential.

Aim: to identify and summarize the principles of diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea due to nasal obstruction.

Methods. The Google Scholar and PubMed databases were used for the literature review, with keywords and their combinations: “nasal obstruction”, “obstructive sleep apnea”, “allergic rhinitis”, “nasal surgery” in the regular and advanced search fields. Articles written in English were selected, with priority given to publications not older than 5 years. For this review, 45 articles were analysed and 34 were selected for the further analysis.

Results. Endoscopic, rhinomanometric and polysomnographic examinations are used to diagnose nasal obstruction and obstructive sleep apnea. Endoscopy and rhinomanometry are used to differentiate the cause and severity of nasal obstruction, while polysomnography is used to diagnose and differentiate obstructive sleep apnea. Depending on the etiology of nasal obstruction, conservative and surgical methods are indicated.

Conclusions. The diagnosis of nasal obstruction and OSA is based on risk factors, clinical symptoms and instrumental tests, the most common being endoscopic examination for nasal obstruction and polysomnography for obstructive sleep apnea. Conservative treatment isn‘t always effective and, depending on the etiology of nasal obstruction and OSA, surgical treatment is indicated.

Keywords: nasal obstruction, obstructive sleep apnea, allergic rhinitis, nasal surgery.

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