Airway observations during upper endoscopy predicting obstructive sleep apnea

Authors Glenn Harvin, Eslam Ali, Amit Raina, William Leland, Sabeen Abid, Zahid Vahora, Hossein Movahed, Sumyra Kachru, Rick Tee.


Background This pilot study examined airway characteristics during upper endoscopy to determine who is at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea.

Methods Patients undergoing routine upper endoscopy were divided into 2 groups according to the Berlin Questionnaire (high and low risk for sleep disordered breathing). Patients underwent routine upper endoscopy using propofol sedation. The airway was then evaluated for no, partial, or complete collapse at the levels of the palate/uvula/tonsils, the tongue base, the hypopharynx, and the larynx. They were given a score of 0 for no collapse, 1 for partial collapse, and 2 for complete collapse. The score for each of these levels was added to give a total score or severity index. The larynx was also evaluated for lateral pharyngeal collapse (minimal, up to 50%, >50%, or 100%).

Results We found that patients with a partial obstruction at the level of the palate/uvula/tonsils, tongue base, hypopharynx, or larynx, or complete obstruction at any level more often had a positive Berlin questionnaire. Patients with a positive Berlin questionnaire were more often of increased weight (mean 197 vs 175 lbs, P=0.19), increased body mass index (31.2 vs 27.42 kg/m2, P=0.11), increased neck circumference (36.7 vs 34.7 cm, P=0.23), and had a higher total airway score (2.61 vs 1.67, P=0.09).

Conclusions The results of our pilot study represent preliminary data regarding the use of upper endoscopy as a potential tool to evaluate patients for obstructive sleep apnea.

Keywords Upper endoscopy, sleep apnea, Berlin questionnaire, airway

Ann Gastroenterol 2016; 29 (4): 481-486

Original Articles