Snoring is a common complaint of patients (and their spouses) treated by otolaryngologists. Experts at a panel discussion during the AAO-HNSF annual meeting cautioned that although there are good treatments for snoring reduction, complete elimination of snoring is rare. Snoring should be regarded as a condition that is managed over time. Even when snoring is improved, partial setbacks are common.
Explore this issue:April 2008
You have to set realistic expectations for patients. Snoring can come back after it is treated, and it is almost never eliminated entirely. First make sure that the problem reported by the patient is actually simply snoring and not obstructive sleep apnea, said Edward M. Weaver, MD, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology and Surgical Program Director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, who moderated the panel discussion.
Rule Out Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is associated with cardiovascular and other morbidity. Panelists agreed that sleep apnea should be ruled out by an overnight sleep study, although this is controversial among community otolaryngologists. B. Tucker Woodson, MD, Professor and Chief of the Division of Sleep Medicine and Department of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, said that patients with snoring are at risk of developing sleep apnea over time, and from a medicolegal point of view, testing should be done and documented.