Evaluating and treating snoring in the office setting is something for which otolaryngologists are frequently called upon. Two experts offered pointers in a session at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery Foundation. The discussion was led by Scott Brietzke, MD, MPH, director of pediatric otolaryngology and sleep surgery at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and Peter O’Connor, MD, director of sleep surgery at the San Antonio Military Health System.*
Explore this issue:November 2015
Up to a third of healthy adults snore routinely, and the condition seems to increase with age. Drs. Brietzke and O’Connor emphasized that snoring is not just a social issue—there can be real consequences even if patients don’t have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). “There is measurable mortality just from snoring,” Dr. Brietzke said. “It’s not a huge effect; it’s a small one, just barely into the measureable range. But it definitely exists.”
When a patient presents as a snorer, the first step should be to rule out OSA, which is linked to increased morbidity and mortality. There is a risk in treating the snoring without treating the underlying sleep apnea. “You might actually take away that warning signal,” Dr. Brietzke said.