A procedure known as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) may help some patients improve or even eliminate their obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), according to study results presented at CHEST 2007.

To determine if UPPP provided improvement in sleep parameters, Akram Khan, MD, Assistant Professor, University of Florida Jacksonville and his colleagues from the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn, evaluated the success of the procedure in 63 patients aged 18-80 with OSA, over a 7-year period. All patients underwent UPPP and were assessed with polysomnography within a 6-month period, preprocedure and postprocedure.

Results showed that UPPP eliminated OSA in approximately one quarter to one third of patients, with improved symptoms ranging from lower CPAP settings to a reduction in the mean apnea-hyponea index (AHI) in patients.

Although researchers are unclear on what characteristics make up the ideal UPPP candidate, they suggest that patients with mild OSA, who are relatively young, lean, and healthy, may have the best results with this procedure.

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