Sleep Endoscopy in Evaluation of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea means a disorder, in which breathing decreases or completely stops during sleep, when the air passage is blocked by the tissues surrounding it, after they get floppy and collapse.
Sleep apnea is a highly serious health problem, leads to problems associated with oxygen deficiency, such as constant sleepiness, fatigue, weight gain, depression, and headaches, as well as some other problems such as hypertension, chronic heart disease, or serious cardiac rhythm disorders when the structures called the receptors on the walls of blood vessels and in the brain detect the oxygen deficiency in the blood and send stimulus signal to the heart.
In the treatment of sleep apnea, the most important step is to find the cause of the problem. The sleep test (polysomnography) considered to be the most important procedure in the diagnosis of apnea can prove the presence of apnea but cannot show the cause, i.e. the blockage area; therefore, usually surgeries intended for the palate area had been performed until recently, and when they had remained inconclusive, C.P.A.P. (continuous positive airway pressure) sleep masks had been preferred.
The sleep endoscopy method that has recently begun to be used makes it possible to determine the location and characteristics of the blockage in the air passage that causes apnea and also enables the selection of the right treatment technique.
During a sleep endoscopy, patients are given drugs to mimic natural sleep, in company with a monitor (BIS - Bispectral Index) following the brain’s sleep order; and then the air passage is accessed through the nose by using a soft endoscope for evaluating the area and locating the narrowness and blockage in detail which cause the snoring and apnea.
The possibility of selecting the most appropriate surgical or non-surgical procedures based on the problem’s location and the way of its occurrence with sleep endoscopy has significantly increased the success achieved in the treatment of sleep apnea.