Background: Classical studies on sleep apnea population have stated a clear pattern of epidemiological, facial and oral characteristics of OSAS patients, that remain until today. Some of those features are still seen in this population, however some have clearly changed and others have emerged.
Objectives: To present the results of two studies carried out to analyse epidemiological features (gender, age, level of education and associated diseases) and clinical characteristics (BMI, cervical diameter, facial profile, dental occlusion, nasal and oral structures) of patients evaluated at the Sleep Unit in Hospital del Trabajador, Santiago, Chile.
Methods: Retrospective, transversal study of 582 patients who attended to our Sleep Unit from 2003 to 2012. The first study evaluated age, gender, level of education and concomitant diseases of 216 patients with polysomnographic diagnosis of OSAS. The second study analysed anthropometric features (head and neck, oral and nasal structures and some cephalometric measurements) of the same 216 OSAS patients. Fisher exact test was used to asses the association between severity of OSAS with each variable. Risk factors were identified.
Results: Some epidemiological variables seen in this population (gender and BMI), showed no difference with that published in classical papers. Other variables, like concomitant diseases and age, showed to be different. Finally, new variables have emerged. Regarding anatomical characteristics of this population, patients with cervical diameter higher than 40 cm, showed strong association with severe OSAS. On the other hand, nasal and oral characteristics showed no association with severity of OSAS. Finally, and contrary to previous data, dental occlusion and facial shape showed no association with severity of OSAS.
Discussion: Facial, oral, and some epidemiological characteristics of this population of patients, differ to classical papers, and represent a change in the identification of risk factors and surgical management of OSAS.