Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Preventing Sleep Apnea-Related Postsurgical Complications

People with sleep apnea are more likely than other patient to suffer post-surgical complications related to anesthesia. In order to identify those people at an increased risk for sleep apnea, doctors are now considering using a simple 8-item questionnaire. The questionnaire, known as the STOP-BANG tool. This tool is a revised version of the earlier STOP sleep apnea screening tool, and has been shown to be more effective.

I n a recent study, people with high scores on the STOP-BANG test were more than 10 times more likely to have postsurgical complications than those with low scores (19.6% vs. 1.3%). People with high STOP-BANG scores also tended to have longer hospitals stays (mean of 3.6 days vs. 2.1 days). The questionnaire augments the original STOP questionnaire with elements from the Berlin Questionnaire, including body mass index, age, neck circumference, and gender, all of which have been strongly correlated with apnea risk. Overall, combining the STOP-BANG score with the American Society of Anesthesiologists score of 3 or higher had a 91.7% sensitivity in predicting postsurgical complications.

Identifying and treating your sleep apnea can be a matter of life or death, not just for postsurgical complications, but for cardiovascular disease and other serious illnesses. To learn more about diagnosing and treating sleep apnea, please contact IHATECPAP today to find a sleep dentist near you.

posted by Dr. Candelaria at 3:27 PM